Liverpool take on Italian side Bologna in two friendlies today, with a striker Jurgen Klopp once hailed as “outstanding” among those who could feature for the opposition.
After clashes with Wacker Innsbruck, Stuttgart, Mainz and Hertha Berlin in Austria, the Reds have flown to France for the next leg of their pre-season schedule.
Bologna are the opposition for back-to-back friendlies in Evian, which were hastily arranged upon confirmation of new COVID-19 guidelines across Europe and the UK.
The games will be 60 minutes in length, and are the final outings before Liverpool return to Anfield later this month with over 40,000 fans due to attend on their homecoming.
So what can we expect from Thursday’s friendlies? Here’s everything you need to know.
When and where is the game?
The Reds’ two friendlies will be staggered over three hours on Thursday evening, with the first kickoff at 3pm and the second at 5pm (both BST).
They will be held behind closed doors at the Camille Fournier Stadium in Evian-les-Bains, which is where Liverpool have been training while in France.
How can we watch?
Liverpool vs. Bologna is being shown live on LFCTV in the UK, which is available to live stream here.
This Is Anfield will also be providing live text commentary throughout on our website and full match reaction and analysis on the This Is Anfield app for iPhone and Android later.
Download free here.
Who are the opposition?
Bologna finished 12th in Serie A in 2020/21, and are heading into their seventh consecutive season in the Italian top flight after their promotion in 2015.
They are managed by former Lazio and Sampdoria defender Sinisa Mihajlovic, who is in his second spell in charge having left in 2009 to take in roles at Catania, Fiorentina, Sampdoria, AC Milan, Torino, Sporting CP and the Serbia national team.
Mihajlovic’s most recent signing as Bologna manager is a familiar face in Marko Arnautovic, who Klopp hailed as an “outstanding striker” during his time with West Ham.
Arnautovic, now 32, has played Liverpool nine times throughout his career and has only won once, that being the 6-1 humiliation away to Stoke in Steven Gerrard’s last game with the club – a game that saw the Austrian assist twice.
Other recognisable names in the Bologna squad include tough-tackling midfielder Gary Medel, forward Roberto Soriano and centre-back Takehiro Tomiyasu, who is expected to join Tottenham later this summer.
Have Liverpool played Bologna before?
The two sides have never met before in competitive or friendlies games, and their only previous notable interaction came with a season-long loan deal for Liverpool’s Spanish youngster Rafa Paez in 2014.
Who is in the Liverpool squad?
Klopp has close to a full first-team squad for these friendlies, though the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino may only feature sparingly.
Jordan Henderson and Ben Davies are the notable absentees, with the captain still on holiday and the centre-back having returned to the UK.
Youngsters Harvey Davies, Billy Koumetio, Jake Cain, Tyler Morton, Conor Bradley and Mateusz Musialowski have also left the squad, but Kaide Gordon, Owen Beck, Leighton Clarkson and Marcelo Pitaluga have remained.
Goalkeepers: Alisson, Kelleher, Adrian, Karius, Pitaluga
Defenders: Van Dijk, Matip, Gomez, Konate, Phillips, R.Williams, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Tsimikas, N.Williams, Beck
Midfielders: Fabinho, Thiago, Keita, Milner, Jones, Elliott, Clarkson, Woodburn
Forwards: Salah, Mane, Firmino, Jota, Minamino, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Origi, Shaqiri, Gordon
What has Klopp said about the game?
Speaking to the club’s official website before the friendlies, Klopp confirmed that he would name two different XIs as Liverpool continue a “slightly different” pre-season:
“What we did this year was slightly different from other years.
“I think everybody knows we train what we have to do and then you play the games on top of that, but usually the next day when you play 45 early or 60 minutes early in the pre-season then you have to calm down a little bit in training and we didn’t do that this year.
“We just could go through intensity-wise, which helped, I think, a lot.
“So, now we have the double 60 – I really like that, Bologna was fine with it as well. So, all good and then on the weekend – Sunday, Monday – two big games at Anfield.”
What comes next?
Liverpool’s two meetings with Bologna will serve as the conclusion of their European mini-tour for pre-season, with a return to Anfield to come later this week.
Athletic Club (August 8) and Osasuna (August 9) will then visit Anfield, before the Premier League opener at Norwich (August 14).