Trent’s position, formation & Nunez’s role – 5 Liverpool questions ahead of pre-season

Liverpool’s pre-season is officially underway, with the Reds’ first friendly next week. There’s a lot of intriguing questions to be asked this summer.

The Reds’ non-internationals returned to the AXA Training Centre on Saturday, while the rest of the squad – expect Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott – return on Tuesday for their first day of testing.

Later this week the full squad head to Germany for their pre-season training camp, with a week in Singapore to follow later in the month.

After the tumultuous ride of the campaign just gone, there is no underestimating how important it is to make the pre-season a productive one.

Here are five questions fans are asking ahead of pre-season.


Where will we see Trent play?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 20, 2023: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The final 10 games of last season saw Trent Alexander-Arnold come to life, a player reborn after becoming an inverted full-back, allowing him to roam into midfield and hurt the opposition centrally.

Seven assists and a goal was convincing evidence of how influential he can be in the position, which Gareth Southgate doubled down on by deploying him exclusively in midfield with England – again, he thrived.

It will be interesting to see how Klopp’s end-of-season plans evolve throughout pre-season and how Liverpool may set up and/or cover for the No. 66 when not playing every minute.

There’s two parts to this question as he will need rest next season at some stage so does any other player attempt to play the same role in pre-season?


Does the ‘new’ system continue?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, October 11, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) and assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 4 game between Glasgow Rangers FC and Liverpool FC. (Pic by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

On that note of formations, we should expect to see Klopp come to the table with a system that has been refined and tweaked for the current personnel and those still to arrive.

The 3-5-2 was the ‘new shape’ that we finished the season with but it was fluid with and without possession, changing to a 4-4-2 shape.

It is why a left-footed centre-back comfortable defending out wide has been mooted as a transfer target, as Andy Robertson‘s role has been forced to change as Alexander-Arnold ventures further afield.

The manager and his side need to continue to evolve and we should start to see how that will look once the friendlies commence on July 19.


Will there be further arrivals?

Southampton's Romeo Lavia celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton. Picture date: Tuesday August 30, 2022 (Steven Paston/PA)

Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai are already through the door and while links to players have been high in volume, significant movement on the next transfer has not been as swift.

The transfer window does not close until September 1, so technically, it could be as late as that – although we hope Liverpool have learned the lesson from last summer.

The Reds have been strongly linked to a number of young players, with Romeo Lavia chief among them.

The Southampton man would complete a midfield overhaul, while a left-sided centre-back is also being sought.

It could take a departure, or two, before we see a third signing this summer.

Of course, having new signings part of the training camps is massively preferred for coaching and assimilation.


Where will Nunez play?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 6, 2023: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brentford FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The agent of chaos gave a glimpse of what he is capable of last season, and if he converts chances into goals, Klopp will have plenty to smile about.

However, the manager did ask questions of his forward late in the season as he wanted more from a defensive standpoint and was eager to communicate in English.

By season’s end, Nunez was all but fifth choice in the forward line after playing on the left or in the central role in his debut campaign – the former will have Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota as competition and the latter has seen Cody Gakpo thrive.

It’s a big summer for the Uruguayan.


Which youngsters might we see?

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Tuesday, January 17, 2023: Liverpool's Ben Doak during the FA Cup 3rd Round Replay match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Pre-season always presents a chance for the club’s youngsters to rub shoulders with the first-team squad and to catch the eye.

We should expect Ben Doak, Melkamu Frauendorf and Bobby Clark to be involved, Conor Bradley and Luke Chambers will be back from their loan spells, while Tyler Morton and Stefan Bajcetic will likely be eased into training after end-of-season injuries.

Trent Kone-Doherty may carve out an opportunity for himself, Lewis Koumas Isaac Mabaya ought to be involved, as well as the likes of Jarell Quansah and James Balagizi.

It is always exciting to see the development of Liverpool’s academy players, this summer is to be no different.

Pre-season dates to remember

  • Pre-season begins – AXA Training Centre – July 8
  • Internationals return – AXA Training Centre – July 11
  • Karlsruher SC – Germany – July 19
  • SpVgg Greuther Furth – Germany – July 24
  • Leicester – Singapore – July 30
  • Bayern Munich – Singapore – August 2
  • Darmstadt – Preston – August 7