A trio of Liverpool players forced Jurgen Klopp to sit down and take note of their preseason opening night on Tuesday.
The Reds played two matches, each lasting 30 minutes, against Austrian second division team Wacker Innsbruck and Bundesliga team Stuttgart.
The two short games were 1-1 draws, with Divock Origi and Sadio Mane respectively entered on the scoresheet.
Jurgen Klopp plans to bring the Premier League title back to Anfield after his team’s third place as defending Premier League champions last season.
The German manager has selected three players who have impressed him, all of whom will be looking to prove themselves this quarter and gain a significant number of minutes in 2021-2022.
Speaking to the Liverpool website, Klopp revealed that Harvey Elliott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and new signing Ibrahima Konate stood out because they held different positions.
Elliott, who impressed on loan at Blackburn Rovers in the Championship last season, was most advanced in a three-way midfield, while Oxlade-Chamberlain played Roberto Firmino’s “False Nine” .
Liverpool paid RB Leipzig £ 36million to bring center-back Konate to Anfield in May, and the Frenchman teamed up with Rhys Williams in the heart of the defense rather than being part of a three-way backline as it was for his former employers in East Germany.
“I don’t think Harvey ever played this role for us, but he looked good,” Klopp said.
“Ox, you could see immediately in the first few minutes that this is an option, definitely. We’ll see how it goes.
“Ibou did really well and that’s what we expected, he looks really good in training.”
The Reds boss noted how impressed he was with the youngsters who appeared, but made sure to acknowledge the context of the preseason during his assessment.
“First game with all the young boys, they really showed up in training but it’s different than when you play a first team with all the kids together on the team,” he admitted.
“It’s tough, but no problem – life is tough and we have to give them the opportunity to be tested in these kinds of games.”
“We are doing it and now we are continuing.”
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The 54-year-old also added: “It was training and it was good. Physically it was all we wanted to see, we had to do it and it was an important test for that.
“From a football point of view, obviously a lot of room for improvement; I saw a lot of wild pressing,” noted the gaffer.
“We wanted a wild press, we had a little competition between the two teams to see who gets the ball the most and how many back presses we have.
Klopp continued, “I saw what I expected to see, actually – it would be weird if I stood here and said, ‘My god, I didn’t know we could play this kind of football “but that’s fine with me and now we keep working.
Liverpool will then face German opposition in the form of their former club Mainz on Friday, and Klopp has provided an update on whether two long-missing absentees are involved.
“It would also be a surprise for me,” he said of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
“They looked very good in training and yesterday was the first day they did very complex things, usually it’s either offensive or defensive and stuff like that.
“We have to get there, step by step, but I’m not expecting them for Friday.”
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