WHERE: Prenton Park, Birkenhead
WHEN: July 11, 2019, 19:30 BST
After what definitely is the longest month of the year, football is slowly returning. Liverpool have been back in training for a few days now and are looking forward to the first of seven pre-season friendlies.
The European Champions will have a makeshift line-up for the game against Tranmere this Thursday but the players on the pitch will undoubtedly still show their quality.
Liverpool will be missing several first team players when the Reds take the short trip over the Mersey.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita have all been involved in AFCON and will miss at least the first few weeks of preseason. Salah’s Egypt have been eliminated but Mane remains in the competition at time of writing. Senegal play Benin on Wednesday.
Keita will be afforded the time to recover from injuries he sustained on international duty before returning to training.
Xherdan Shaqiri was also injured on duty for Switzerland. He tore his calf and is looking at an extended spell on the sidelines.
A total of 16 players reported for pre-season last Friday. These players are Arroyo, Brewster, Clyne, Fabinho, Gomez, Kent, Hoever, Jones, Lallana, Matip, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Phillips, Van den Berg, Wilson, Woodburn.
They have since been joined by Dejan Lovren and Champions League hero Divock Origi.
Predicting a line-up for a pre-season fixture is not only nigh-on impossible but it also seems like a useless exercise. Every player named in the squad will likely get some minute.
That being said…
Vitezslav Jaros; Kai-Jana Hoever, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Adam Lewis; Fabinho, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain; Harry Wilson, Rhian Brewster, Ben Woodburn.
What to expect
It’s been well over a month since the Reds last played a competitive game. Even then, in the Champions League final, the Reds looked fatigued and ready for a holiday.
Most of the Reds have spent the last five and a half weeks on holiday, relaxing and repairing their bodies ready for the new season.
As shown by last season’s friendly against Tranmere, it can take time for the Reds to get up to speed. Liverpool won 3-2 in the same fixture last season and you could expect the same kind of game this time around.
Other things you could expect could be a debut for new signing Sepp van den Berg. The recent signing from PEC Zwolle will be raring to get going as part of the squad. Not only that, expect wholesale changes at half-time.
The whole XI could change. With maybe the exception of the goalkeeper, depending on whether Klopp wants to give Simon Mignolet minutes in pre-season ahead of an imminent departure for the Belgian.
Liverpool should have enough quality, even in the youth of the squad to get through Tranmere without a hiccough.
It should be relatively comfortable for the Reds. I predict 4-0.