Liverpool’s first pre-season game ahead of the 2018-19 season is just two days away and for fans there’s an extra level of excitement not often present for such an early friendly—there’s the chance to see new arrivals Naby Keïta and Fabinho in Red for the first time.
With neither player taking part in the World Cup this summer, both are tentatively expected to start on Saturday afternoon when Liverpool take on Chester. And it’s not just the club’s fans who are excited by the chance to see the two young stars live for the first time.
“They are fantastic players to come to Liverpool,” said Dominic Solanke, who will be playing on Saturday and looking stake his claim to the backup striker job ahead of the new season. “It’s going to be fun to watch them play in the next few weeks.”
Solanke is expected to be given the chance to compete with Divock Origi, and one of the two will back up Roberto Firmino with the other likely to depart along with Danny Ings—though in Solanke’s case, if he does leave this summer it will be on loan.
Youngster Rhian Brewster is then expected to head into the season as the club’s third choice striker, while the flexibility of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané mean Liverpool’s two pacy wingers could also fill in up top in a pinch.
At least for now, though, the main focus isn’t on the competition at the striker position—it’s on the two midfielders signed at a combined cost of around £100M and the chance to see how quickly they can be fit into an already strong Liverpool side.
“They have settled in quite well,” Solanke added. “Last season everyone made me feel welcome—the players, the staff, everyone. They’ll do that again for them and they’ll settle in quite quickly. There are always things you can do to help them.”