Liverpool’s pre-season preparation is in full swing, with a month-long training camp in Austria making up the bulk of the Reds’ preparations for the new season.
Jürgen Klopp’s team has played two games so far (well, three, if you take into account that the start was two 30-minute games against another opponent) and played three more before the opening game in Norwich on May 14.
Next Thursday (July 29), Hertha Berlin will see Berlin as an opponent in the Tivoli Stadium in Innsbruck, followed by a return to Merseyside and the games against Spanish opponents Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna on August 8 and 9.
That leaves nine days between the games against Hertha and Bilbao – at a time when the preparation for the season is at its peak. In a normal summer there would be no such gap.
In fact, Klopp would normally play seven or eight friendlies this preseason, and it’s said to be five so far this summer.
There is a good chance that Liverpool will be looking for another friendly between these games, which would give valuable playing time to players returning from the Euro such as Diogo Jota and Andy Robertson, possibly Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
Klopp has said Thursday’s game against Hertha is unlikely to see the center-back duo in action, but another game in that nine-day gap could offer a chance.
Another game before the Anfield test matches would also give Thiago, who was due to return later next week, a chance to slowly build his fitness.
Liverpool had held talks with Lyon earlier this summer about a friendly game in honor of Gerard Houllier but this struggled due to restrictions between Britain and France.
Liverpool’s pre-season plans were fluid and late announced due to the ongoing pandemic, with the Bilbao and Osasuna games not being confirmed until the UK restrictions were confirmed and local authorities approved 75 percent capacity on Anfield Road.
These two games will serve as the test run for the Reds’ first home game of the season against Burnley on August 21. It is not yet clear whether this will continue at full capacity or around 40,000.
Liverpool’s pre-season plans are a little less planned than usual, but significantly better than other Premier League teams.
Man City only has one Friendly game planned ahead of the Community Shield against Preston this week, while Chelsea also have one more game to play and only three games are planned – two of them against London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham.
Liverpool had previously discussed matches against Man United, Newcastle or Aston Villa, but as soon as the UK government allowed an exemption for elite teams from Amber Countries, those were canceled, with Klopp choosing not to face Premier League rivals in the preseason .
Meanwhile, Arsenal had to abandon plans to travel to Florida due to a Covid outbreak – although Everton is still headed to the Sunshine State (minus its assistant manager due to his criminal record).