Naming 2 Liverpool lineups that could play in opening friendly

Liverpool’s first pre-season friendly sees them meet 2.Bundesliga side Karlsruher on Wednesday, and though there are 32 players in the squad, the midfield is limited on options for Jurgen Klopp.

Germany is the backdrop for the Reds’ first of five friendlies this summer, with this the first-ever meeting in any capacity between Liverpool and Karlsruher.

The meeting comes only 11 days into pre-season and with training still the priority, Klopp is likely to mix up his side and make quite a few changes throughout the match.

It will not be a surprise to see the manager name two teams, one for each half, and make further changes throughout as he balances minutes on the pitch with double training sessions.

There is plenty to keep an eye on when it comes to systems and youngsters, so here are two possible lineup options against Karlsruher.


Liverpool’s 32-man squad in Germany

DONESCHINGEN, GERMANY - Monday, July 17, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah rides a bicyle to a training session during the club's pre-season training camp in Germany. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Goalkeepers: Alisson, Kelleher, Adrian, Pitaluga, Jaros, Mrozek

Defenders: Alexander-Arnold, Bradley, Van Dijk, Konate, Matip, Gomez, Phillips, Quansah, Robertson, Tsimikas, Scanlon

Midfielders: Henderson, Mac Allister, Szoboszlai, Thiago, Bajcetic, Clark, Frauendorf, McConnell

Forwards: Salah, Nunez, Diaz, Jota, Gakpo, Doak, Koumas


Anyone ruled out?

Thiago and Stefan Bajcetic both travelled with the group but their rehabilitation for injuries from last season have continued into pre-season.

With the pair yet to be fully integrated back into the squad, they are to be spectators for this one.


Possible XIs vs. Karlsruher

DONESCHINGEN, GERMANY - Monday, July 17, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah rides a bicyle to a training session during the club's pre-season training camp in Germany. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There is a mix of senior and youth players who could all be used for this match, especially as it is so early into the schedule.

With the majority of players returning at the same time, few have a head start when it comes to pre-season training time, meaning we could see quite the combination over two halves.

Even those not named in the XIs will likely see game time off the bench as Liverpool slowly build their players back up to playing a full half and subsequently 90 minutes.

We’re likely to see the continuation of the ‘new’ shape from last season, though it will be interesting to see how it looks with different personnel.

Using Liverpool’s training footage as a potential hint for what is in store, this is what we could see:

  • Alisson in goal with Alexander-Arnold and Tsimikas on either side of the centre-backs
  • Quansah, 20, to get a chance alongside Gomez in the heart of defence
  • Mac Allister’s first outing alongside Henderson – despite a looming departure – with Melkamu Frauendorf, 19, on the right of midfield
  • A strong forward line of Salah, Jota and Gakpo

This would see the Reds take to the field like this:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Quansah, Tsimikas; Henderson, Mac Allister, Frauendorf; Salah, Jota, Gakpo

Another option is, again, a mix of the young and the experienced.

With midfield options limited by two players still recovering from injury and the absence of Fabinho, there is a need for Liverpool to make do with what they have for the time being.

That could see 18-year-old James McConnell handed the task of playing in a deeper role, and while he has done so at academy level it is an entirely different set of demands for the first-team.

That makes it a more youthful look to this lineup, as it also includes the exciting Ben Doak, Bobby Clark and the impressive Conor Bradley:

  • Kelleher between the sticks behind Bradley, Van Dijk, Konate and Robertson
  • James McConnell, 18, to get his chance to catch the eye in midfield, next to Szoboszlai and Clark, 18
  • Up top, Doak starts on the right wing alongside Diaz and Nunez

This lineup would look like this:

Kelleher; Bradley, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; McConnell, Szoboszlai, Clark; Doak, Diaz, Nunez

With it being so early into the summer, it’s a guessing game as to how Klopp will approach the match but the result will not be his top priority.

The likelihood is the majority of those fit enough to play will see some minutes, but the obvious anticipation will be to see both Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai play their first match as a Red.