After stumbling in their pre-season opener against Manchester United on Tuesday, Liverpool put in a much stronger performance in a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace in Singapore on Friday. While he wasn’t too bothered by the loss to United in a pre-season friendly, manager Jürgen Klopp was pleased to see his squad respond with some goals and a result against Palace.
“We played a good game against United but we lost 4-0 because we made mistakes at completely the wrong moments,” said the boss after the victory. “The mistakes we made left us open, but we were much more compact today. We still played really good football and scored two goals. It was a clear step in the right direction.”
With the winter World Cup forcing a compacted first half to the 2022-23 season, finding a good rhythm and getting the team in shape before the season kicks off will be vital this year. So, it was encouraging to see the squad make the adjustments needed to rebound from a disappointing pre-season opener.
“It’s only our second game and we have to work a lot in the next four weeks to prepare for the rest of the season,” Klopp admitted. “We have to use the time because from mid-September on we will not have time to train anymore. We will be playing every three days.”
Part of that preparation is giving minutes to as many players as possible. Klopp brought a large group of players for the first two friendlies, and he delivered on his promise to make sure they all got a bit of playing time. That they looked so much better today despite playing nearly three different XIs speaks to the well-oiled machine that is Liverpool FC.
“We used 32 players tonight and I like all of what they did. It looked like proper football. The counter-pressing was extremely obvious and is very important for us.”
The Reds will next be heading to Leipzig and Salzburg to face their respective Red Bull clubs before taking on Manchester City for the Community Shield on July 30. That doesn’t leave much time before a match that (almost) matters. So, just as he’s done for the first week of pre-season, Klopp will be looking to take advantage of any opportunity he can to fit in training sessions.
“I know we don’t have a long time – there are only two weeks until we face Man City (in the Community Shield) so we must not waste time – and we have only been a week together. But we are used to the circumstances, and over here we have tried to squeeze every minute out for training.”