1. The Henderson Machine
Rickie Lambert joined up with his Liverpool teammates a week early instead of enjoying a little extra vacation time after spending the summer with England at the World Cup. He knew he needed to be fit and ready for his first season as a Liverpool player. The rest of the England contingent flew into Boston on Monday and got back to training then. New signing Lazar Markovic is part of that group, which also includes Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard and Adam Lallana. None are up to the fitness level Brendan Rodgers wants, so they didn’t feature in Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Roma at Fenway. Jordan Henderson did, because Jordan Henderson has an unlimited amount of energy and never ever stops running.
"I think for those [that just joined the squad], they only began training on Monday, so it was just a group of nine players and it was probably too much [to play on Wednesday]," Rodgers told the media after the game.
"I put Jordan Henderson in because of his level of fitness," he added. "Jordan could play 10 games on the spin he’s so fit and strong. It was nice to give him 15-16 minute period at the end."
Rodgers did confirm though that the players, new signings Markovic and Lallana included, that did not play against Roma will be involved in Liverpool’s friendly against Olympiacos on July 27.
2. Jose Enrique and the Mystery of the First Touch
He’s a bull in a china shop. He’s fast. He has big muscles. He likes FIFA and taking selfies. And even after bumping his Ball Control rating up to 99 he can’t seem to control a pass. It’s been a long year for the Spanish full-back, and it will probably be another long one if his first touch doesn't improve on what was on display last night. It’s a modern mystery.
3. Coutinho Swoon
Coutinho has taken it upon himself to show Brendan Rodgers that all these new attacking toys aren’t going to take his spot in the squad. The Brazilian midfielder has been Liverpool’s liveliest performer and has been making magic happen while his teammates struggle to keep up with him. His control, vision, and movement have been top-class thus far in preseason even while his position in the squad has come under fire.
At times against Roma he was the only creative outlet Liverpool had. While the majority of his shots were nowhere near the Roma goal, he was still the one dribbling through midfield and pushing Liverpool forward. And Rodgers knows how important the little Brazilian will be for Liverpool this season.
"Coutinho is the brain in our team," Rodgers told the media after the game. "Coutinho is the continuity player. He might not score many goals, but he is a wonderful reference for the team.
"As I said, he’s the brain. He’s the one that gets the team ticking and gets the movement in front of the ball. He goes and gets on the ball. He’s a fantastic talent for such a young player. He’s still gaining his fitness as you can see, but he makes the crowd get off their seat. For someone so small he’s very tough and robust but a wonderful technician and [has] a great idea of the game tactically."