More than perhaps any other sport, the cycle from season to season in European club football is relentless, and not even a World Cup can stop it. For proof of that, one need look no further than Liverpool’s announcement today of their finalised pre-season plans.
We now know the club will kick off pre-season on July 7th against Chester—the same day as the World Cup quarter-finals. They will then face Tranmere on the 11th—the same day as the semi-finals. And then Bury on the 14th—the day before the 2018 World Cup final.
Those are the first three of four pre-season dates added to the club’s schedule, with the fourth against Blackburn on the 19th of July before they head to the United States to take on Borussia Dortmund, Man City, and Man United in the International Champions Cup.
After their North American tour games, they return to Europe to take on Napoli in Dublin on the 4th of August. Eight games in four weeks, starting half way through the World Cup and with players expected to begin returning to training about two weeks before that.
And it will be a strong squad from the start, with only Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, Dejan Lovren, Marko Grujic, and Simon Mignolet—plus the injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain—not immediately available.