LFC academy duo given chance to impress Jurgen Klopp in pre-Leeds training

Jurgen Klopp called a 34-man squad into training at Melwood on Thursday, just two days before Liverpool kick off their Premier League campaign at home to Leeds.

The Reds begin their title defence with a Saturday evening clash at Anfield, with a champions vs. champions opener mirroring last year, when Klopp’s side took on Norwich.

Pre-season has been largely productive for Liverpool, but September brought an unwelcome international break that saw half of the first team depart for UEFA Nations League ties and youth qualifiers.

But the entire squad is back for the buildup to the weekend’s meeting with Leeds, and that included a host of fringe players and, surprisingly, two academy talents.

Centre-back Remi Savage and right-back Conor Bradley were given a rare taste of life at Melwood, as Klopp called upon reinforcements in two key areas.

There was no sign of Neco Williams, with Northern Ireland youth international Bradley filling in, a month-and-a-half after signing his first professional contract with the club.

Bradley joined the Reds from Dungannon United last September, and scored three goals and laid on two assists in 15 appearances at academy level in his first campaign.

Meanwhile, Liverpool-born defender Savage has been with the club since under-9 level, and is expected to take up a focal role with Barry Lewtas‘ under-23s this season.

Leighton Clarkson, who has been a regular feature at Melwood and was on the bench for the 7-2 win over Blackpool in pre-season, was involved, too.

Also with the squad were Nat Phillips, Loris Karius, Ben Woodburn, Marko Grujic, Harry Wilson, Taiwo Awoniyi and Rhian Brewster, ahead of expected moves away in the transfer window.

Xherdan Shaqiri made his return from injury, while Jordan Henderson and Joel Matip were also part of training after making their comeback earlier this month.

Williams was not the only absentee, however, with Kostas Tsimikas out following his positive test for COVID-19, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still sidelined with a knee injury.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are nailed on to start against Leeds, therefore, despite the No. 66 only recently returning from a minor injury.

It is a big positive that Klopp has the majority of his senior squad to call upon for the Premier League opener, and the manager is set to go full-strength in search of the perfect start to Liverpool’s title defence.

Liverpool Squad in Training on Thursday

Goalkeepers: Alisson, Adrian, Karius, Kelleher

Defenders: Van Dijk, Gomez, Matip, Koumetio, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Phillips, Van den Berg, Hoever, Savage, Bradley

Midfielders: Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Keita, Milner, Jones, Grujic, Clarkson, Woodburn

Forwards: Salah, Mane, Firmino, Minamino, Origi, Shaqiri, Brewster, Elliott, Wilson, Awoniyi