Jurgen Klopp praises pre-season duo with Kostas Tsimikas “always ready”

Jurgen Klopp has singled out two pre-season performers for praise, while Kostas Tsimikas has vowed that he is “always ready” for “any opportunity” with Liverpool.

So far, a total of 35 players have featured for the Reds in pre-season, with only 14 of those featuring in four of the games.

Among those 14 are Tsimikas and Takumi Minamino – two players who found themselves on the fringes in 2020/21, but will be looking to break into the first-team picture in the new campaign.

Both have impressed in recent weeks, with Minamino scoring against both Hertha Berlin and Bologna, the latter a brilliant first-time volley on the turn from Xherdan Shaqiri‘s pass.

Tsimikas could have ended the 1-0 victory over Bologna on Thursday with at least an assist, with Roberto Firmino squandering his header from the Greek’s cross, and the left-back caught Klopp’s eye.

“Kostas was really, really good today, I have to say. That’s true,” the manager told the club’s official website.

“It was just 45 minutes, that’s fine, Owen Beck [came on for] 15 minutes and that’s good as well.”

On Minamino, Klopp added: “Taki has played a good pre-season, that’s true – that’s really, really true.”

INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA - Thursday, July 29, 2021: Liverpool's Takumi Minamino (L) celebrates after scoring the second goal with team-mate Harvey Elliott during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Hertha BSC at the Tivoli Stadion. (Pic by Jürgen Faichter/Propaganda)

With question marks over the futures of Shaqiri and Divock Origi, Minamino could find himself in a position to take his chances more often in 2021/22 – despite interest from last season’s loan club Southampton.

The 26-year-old must find himself in the thick of it more often, of course, and his two goals in the friendlies so far will certainly help him convince Klopp he is ready.

Tsimikas, meanwhile, believes he is capable of grasping his opportunities as backup to Andy Robertson, with the Scot noticeably dipping last season due to overuse and arguably needing careful management in the new campaign.

“I always give my best to be close to the team. Whenever my coach gives me the opportunity to play, I’m always ready for that,” Tsimikas told LFCTV.

“I wait for my opportunity, I’m ready.”

INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA - Thursday, July 29, 2021: Liverpool's Kostas Tsimikas during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Hertha BSC at the Tivoli Stadion. (Pic by Jürgen Faichter/Propaganda)

The No. 21 has impressed with his willing running down the left flank, along with his trademark delivery, and feels he is building momentum with regular appearances in pre-season.

“I always try to improve my game, to give my best, to help the team, to win, to score goals,” he added.

“These kinds of games always give me more power, to continue running and to improve.

“I’m very happy to help my team and win 1-0 even in a friendly game.”