With Liverpool’s pre-season kicking off in just about 48 hours, manager Jürgen Klopp has had a week to watch players in training and has a good idea how he wants to line them up on Saturday against Chester, with two elevens playing a half each expected.
As for new arrivals Naby Keïta and Fabinho, the Liverpool manager admitted he doesn’t know if they’ll be starting the first half or the second on Saturday—or if they’ll play at the same time—but the plan is to have them both involved for 45 minutes.
“We don’t want to waste time,” Klopp noted. “They are in, it’s good. It’s our first pre-season game so let’s start. If they’ll start, I don’t know, to be honest. I haven’t made the line-up so far, I have to see who is available. But, yes, they will be involved for sure.”
It wasn’t all good news, though, with Klopp admitting it that was probably “too early” for Joël Matip to play on Saturday, with the 26-year-old taking part in pre-season but behind his teammates on the fitness front following an injury-plagued 2017-18 season.
While Matip did miss a lot of time last year and players working harder than ever to stay in shape year round, being less fit than his teammates isn’t be a shock. But pre-season is all about gaining fitness—that’s the whole point of playing sides like Chester.
Adam Lallana is also not expected to play against Chester, with the midfielder fully fit but having come down with a minor illness this week that will see him held back. Outside of that, though, all of Liverpool’s players in training this week should be available.
“We still have two or three sessions until we play,” the Liverpool manager added. “In football a lot of things can happen, but if nothing happens then they will play of course.”