Now that the 2017/18 Premier League fixture list has been released and subsequently slaughtered — seriously, what is the deal with that December stretch — it is time for clubs to begin whetting their fans' appetites for the upcoming season by announcing their pre-season friendlies. With no important international competition taking place this summer, there is a genuine chance that players will return to their clubs more or less at the same time, and having spent time recovering rather than traveling around the world playing high intensity matches every four days.
As it stands, Liverpool will begin their pre-season on July 12th — yes, that's only 26 days from now — with a trip to Tranmere Rovers, before traveling to Wigan on Friday the 14th.
In addition to the previously announced Premier League Asia Trophy, in which Jürgen Klopp's men will compete with Crystal Palace, West Bromwich and Leicester, as well as the August 5th Anfield clash with Athletic Bilbao, it has been confirmed that Liverpool will take part in the immensely prestigious Audi Cup. Taking place at the Allianz Arena on August 1st and 2nd, the tournament includes European big guns Bayern Munich, Lazio and Atletico Madrid. The Reds will face the hosts in the opening fixture, and then play a final or 3rd place decider against the winner or loser of the other match the next day.
While the format and purpose of the Audi Cup doesn't necessarily lend itself to inspiring, top-level performances, it will nonetheless be interesting as a taste of what the Reds can expect in the Champions League. That is, assuming they get past whoever they draw in the playoff round taking place in late August.