Liverpool had an uneven trip to the U.S., with losses to Chelsea and AS Roma sandwiched around a much more promising and victorious outing to AC Milan.
Although technically friendlies (if such a term can ever apply when facing off with a certain London-based team in blue), the level of competition was a massive step up compared to earlier preseason efforts against four of England’s lower tier sides. As such, the performances across the pond might cause some Liverpool supporters to be concerned about this summer’s progress under Jürgen Klopp. The boss, however, is not concerned:
It wasn't our best game but that can happen when you aren't compact like in the first half. There were big spaces between the positions. Nearly every attacking situation was a chance. It made no sense. We had a lot of good chances too. It could have been 6-5 at half-time. It was exciting for the supporters but not what I wanted.
I can accept it because I know why. We've had 13 days in the USA and the hardest circumstances tonight. A lot of intensive sessions and then playing in that heat. We've had a lot of games in the last few weeks and our opponent has had no games for two weeks so it was hard. Of course we have to do better. It was easy to see what was wrong so it's easy to change it.
Fatigue aside, this is a squad that is still slowly coming together after transfers and various international competitions. Once again, Klopp turned his focus back on the all important training:
The players have done really well on this tour. There have been a lot of perfect sessions and some really good moments in our games. In some offensive situations tonight we played really well. We were unlucky, good goalkeeper, whatever. I am happy that no-one is injured. It was difficult to play tonight for my team after this intense time. We will go back to England and build from this base.
Without looking up Luciano Spalletti’s comments, I have the sneaking suspicion that he wouldn’t have listed “good goalkeeping” as a problem Roma faced from Liverpool yesterday evening.
Either way, the Reds head back to Merseyside with a great deal of training ahead of them, and a killer start to the season which could go a long way in determining their final league position next May. It’s August, and we’ve officially entered crunch time. This should be an exciting couple of weeks.