It was a youthful side in the 3-0 defeat to Strasbourg for Liverpool, but that was not the initial intention when Jurgen Klopp sought to arrange the friendly.
Liverpool’s pre-season schedule has taken them to Asia, Germany and Austria, with their return to England including a double-header in the space of 26 hours.
Klopp and co. have sought to squeeze as much as they can from the condensed summer schedule, leaving many to assume the Strasbourg meeting would be for those who did not feature heavily in the Community Shield.
With the manager lamenting the time he has with his squad before the opener at Fulham, the Strasbourg match looked, on paper, the perfect opportunity to get minutes into as many players’ legs as possible.
But injury and illness forced a change in plans for Liverpool, with nine academy players named in the 16-man matchday squad.
“When we planned this game then obviously we thought we have to do it for the first-team squad really, for the first-team players because usually today we could have played the striker who didn’t start yesterday,” Klopp told the club’s official website.
“Diogo, Oxlade, Naby, Curtis, and now on matchday Naby’s ill and Curtis felt a little bit and we couldn’t take any risk and all of a sudden the team is really young and you play a really strong Strasbourg side.”
The Reds’ injury list does not make for great reading with Curtis Jones and Ibrahima Konate joining Kostas Tsimikas, Diogo Jota, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Calvin Ramsay, Alisson, Caoimhin Kelleher and Kaide Gordon.
“We don’t know exactly yet on Ibou,” Klopp said. “But it doesn’t look too concerning, so I hope we caught it in the right moment.”
The list of names on the injury list coupled with the players who featured in the Community Shield explain the change in plans for Liverpool, with no risks taken with the season now only days away.