For those looking ahead to Liverpool’s first game of the season on August 12th wondering just what Jürgen Klopp’s first starting lineup of the 2018-19 campaign might end up looking like, the manager offered some insight during a break in training in France today.
And if anyone had questions about whether Roberto Firmino and Trent Alexander-Arnold would be ready to go by next week, it looks like the answer is almost certainly yes, as the Liverpool boss expects two weeks of training to be enough to get them up to speed.
“It’s good to have him here,” Klopp said when he was asked about Firmino in particular. “He looks in good shape. Training for the outfield players is obviously different than for the goalies, but we want to see him as well against Napoli. We will see for how long.
“When we start against West Ham, he will have had then two weeks after three weeks off, it should be possible but we will see until then. He needs to do a little bit more, like Trent will do now [but] step by step they are all coming back and it’s the best news.”
Alexander-Arnold is in line to take part—against Napoli on Sunday, Torino next week, and then the league opener against West Ham—as he returned early from his World Cup break, and Klopp explained that age and a substitute role for England are behind that.
Meanwhile, the other side of that is the reason that Jordan Henderson—along with Dejan Lovren—remains absent from pre-season and isn’t expected to take part in the pre-season warm-up matches or to be available for selection against West Ham on the 12th.
“Hendo is in a different situation and played much more games, played more in the World Cup and all that stuff,” Klopp said. “He is not old but he is older than Trent, so I think it makes absolute sense he has the full three weeks and Trent has had two weeks.
“Trent seems to be really relaxed and really desperate to be part of the team again, so good to have him and now we can start with him. When you are 19 or 20 after a season like he had, then I would have been 100 per cent exactly the same.”