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10 things to know ahead of Liverpool’s pre-season clash vs. RB Leipzig

The next leg of Liverpool’s pre-season preparations will see them face RB Leipzig at the Red Bull Arena on Thursday.

RB Leipzig vs. Liverpool

Pre-Season Friendly (3) | Red Bull Arena
Thursday, July 21, 2022 | 6.15pm (BST)


Having completed a tour which included a number of routine commercial commitments, Jurgen Klopp will be looking forward to the next stage of Liverpool’s summer schedule, with more focus on training and tactics.

The Reds returned to England last Saturday, before a couple of training sessions at the AXA Training Centre early this week.

They are now set to fly out to Germany for a friendly against RB Leipzig, who finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season, before embarking on a training camp in Austria.

 

1. Team news

SINGAPORE - Friday, July 15, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates with team-mates after scoring the second goal during the Standard Chartered Trophy pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at the Singapore National Stadium. (Handout Photo by Full Circle PR)

Alisson Becker, Caoimhin Kelleher, Calvin Ramsay, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kaide Gordon and Diogo Jota have all been in the treatment room and are unlikely to be available.

It’s likely there will be less players involved and more game time for those who are, with Klopp now keen to ensure his senior stars take a step closer to full fitness.

The starters should be in line to play 45 minutes at the very least, with a handful having already done so against Crystal Palace last Friday.

 

2. How could Liverpool line up?

SINGAPORE - Friday, July 15, 2022: Liverpool's players line-up for a team group photograph before the Standard Chartered Trophy pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at the Singapore National Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With the tour of Asia all wrapped up, team selections for the upcoming friendlies may give us some clues about who will line-up at Craven Cottage on August 6.

That could mean, for example, Klopp wants to start using both Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah alongside Darwin Nunez in attack.

Here are two potential lineups the Reds could field in Leipzig on Thursday.

 

3. Austria – Klopp’s favourite camp

GRÖDIG, AUSTRIA - Friday, July 23, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the pre-match warm-up before a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and FSV Mainz 05 at the Greisbergers Betten-Arena. (Pic by Jürgen Faichter/Propaganda)

“My time,” is how the Liverpool boss explains his team’s trip to Austria.

That’s where the Reds will move on to after Thursday’s friendly in Leipzig, for a week-long training camp.

This is where Klopp will ramp up Liverpool’s preparations for the new season. With no commercial distractions, it will be eat, sleep, train, repeat, with some days consisting of more than one session.

There will be more of a focus on tactics and the ways Klopp wants to see his side set up this season. Hopefully that will be reflected in the two friendlies within the next week.

 

4. What’s happened in training this week?

Having only returned from Asia after a 14-hour flight late on Saturday, the squad were allowed the rest of the weekend off to adjust their body clocks.

On Monday, they were back at the AXA Training Centre, with a 15-man group taking part in a session on the pitch.

The rest, mainly consisting of senior players, including the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Thiago, were undergoing fitness work in the gym.

Those out on the pitch included Joe Gomez, who missed Friday’s victory against Palace with a knock, as well as youngsters Stefan Bajcetic, Luke Chambers and Isaac Mabaya, who could be set for more first team involvement this season.

 

5. What stage are RB Leipzig at in their pre-season?

The 2022/23 Bundesliga campaign gets underway on the same weekend as the Premier League, with Leipzig travelling to Stuttgart for their opener on Sunday, August 7.

Domenico Tedesco’s side have just returned from an Austria camp of their own, concluding it with a 3-1 friendly win against Southampton last Saturday.

Leipzig will have their eyes on a title challenge for the upcoming campaign, or will at least want to improve on their fourth-placed finish from last season.

Their preparations have been boosted by the news that star attacker Christopher Nkunku has opted to stay and sign a new contract, despite interest from a host of Europe’s top clubs.

 

6. Back to where it all began for Naby and Ibou

Leipzig, Germany. 16th May, 2021. Football: Bundesliga, Matchday 33, RB Leipzig - VfL Wolfsburg at Red Bull Arena Leipzig. Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate on the ball. Credit: Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa - IMPORTANT NOTE: In accordance with the regulations of the DFL Deutsche FuBball Liga and/or the DFB Deutscher FuBball-Bund, it is prohibited to use or have used photographs taken in the stadium and/or of the match in the form of sequence pictures and/or video-like photo series./dpa/Alamy Live News

The friendly will offer Naby Keita and Ibrahima Konate the opportunity to catch up with some familiar faces, with both joining the Reds from Leipzig in years gone by.

Keita has already faced his former side once for the Reds, coming on as a substitute in the Champions League last 16 second leg clash in March 2021.

For Konate, though, this will be the first time he’ll have seen some of his former team-mates since his £36 million move to Anfield last summer.

 

7. Klopp “not worried at all” about Nunez

SINGAPORE - Thursday, July 14, 2022: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez during a training sessional at the National Stadium, Singapore ahead of the Standard Chartered Trophy pre-season friendly match against Crystal Palace. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Some rival fans are, of course, desperate to see Nunez fail at Liverpool. So much so that there have been compilations highlighting some of his missed opportunities in pre-season doing the rounds on social media.

Yes, really!

Klopp, though, says he’s been happy with what he’s seen from the Uruguayan so far, and remains “completely convinced about his potential.”

Hopefully the first of many Nunez Liverpool goals goes in on Thursday!

 

8. Last time out against Leipzig

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - Wednesday, March 10, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (L) celebrates after scoring the first goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 2nd Leg game between Liverpool FC and RB Leipzig at the Puskás Aréna. (Pic by Propaganda)

The Reds last faced Leipzig in the 2020/21 Champions League last 16, with two 2-0 victories seeing them progress to the quarter-finals with ease.

The matches were played in Budapest and without fans, due to the rising cases of Covid-19 at the time.

Both games, in terms of the scoreline and scorers, were practically identical, with Salah and Sadio Mane scoring a goal each in the second half of each leg.

 

9. Red Bull Arena – Leipzig

This will be the Reds’ first trip to Leipzig’s Red Bull Arena since it became their home stadium in 2010.

Liverpool’s allocation for the match has sold out and Leipzig say theirs has, too.

There could be as many as 42,000 spectators. Not bad for a friendly!

 

10. Follow TIA’s live blog

SINGAPORE - Friday, July 15, 2022: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson (R) celebrates with team-mate Harvey Elliott (L) after scoring the first goal during the Standard Chartered Trophy pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at the Singapore National Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

RB Leipzig vs. Liverpool will be available to watch on LFCTV GO from 5.45pm (BST), with kickoff scheduled for 6.15pm.

However, if you don’t subscribe, This Is Anfield will be providing you with regular updates in our live blog.

Henry Jackson will be keeping you company for this one!

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