Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is generally pretty tight-lipped about his future line-ups. That has not magically changed since becoming a European Champion.
Following the return of key stars Roberto Firmino, Alisson Becker, and Mohamed Salah last night—with the two Brazilians having rather conflicting impacts on the pitch—Kloppo said he was unsure which players, if any, would feature in the Community Shield against Manchester City.
“I don’t know yet in the moment, so that’s how it is. We have to see,” he told the club’s official website in a post-match interview.
“I don’t say 100 per cent not, there’s a chance that they will play, yes. They will be involved whenever, from the start, maybe we cannot make these changes like today after half an hour or whatever, that’s maybe not possible in that game so we have to see.
“We have to see how they react tomorrow, now training is not the highest intensity anymore, now training is about the detail [and] we really need to prepare the game.
“Man City is different to all other games that you play – you have to play a pre-season game against Man City to prepare for Man City and we didn’t do that! We need to adapt to that but all good.
“Today was from a physical point of view very, very important for all the lads and from a psychological point of view of course as well. We are all human beings and losing football games we never get used to, so I’m really happy that we could change that today.”
This is all to say that Bobby will definitely, 100%, be starting against City.
In all seriousness, the early substitutions of Firmino and Xherdan Shaqiri, paired with the later, halftime subs of Mo and Naby Keita, probably tells us a great deal about what the returning players have already shown in training. From the outside looking in, it seems as if Salah and Keita are closer in terms of full match fitness than Bobby and Shaq.
“I think Mo is naturally fit and he can sprint all day, which helps us of course,” Kloppo explained.
“It opens up the pitch, you can play much more football – not always between the lines, if you from time to time chip the ball in behind the line then Mo makes these offers which is very important for us.”
With Sadio Mane still yet to return, Mo’s ability to stretch the pitch and provide an outlet will likely be vital in getting positive results over the coming weeks.
Despite Klopp’s posturing, it seems highly likely that Salah will definitely play against City. And of course, Alisson is Alisson and notably not Simon Mignolet. Despite his clown shoes error against Lyon, it seems reasonable to assume our number 1 will also be starting.