On paper, Liverpool should expect to beat any Austrian Bundesliga side. In practice, with opponents RB Salzburg having already kicked off their domestic season with a comfortable league win against Wien and a cup victory over Fügen, it’s a little more complicated.
Liverpool’s mid-week pre-season opponents aren’t actually in their pre-season any more, meaning Jürgen Klopp’s men will face off on Wednesday against a fully fit side that won their division last season and are set to play another year in the Champions League.
“The season in Austria started already so they are obviously at a completely different stage to us,” Klopp noted ahead of their Salzburg warm-up. “We will feel that. We have three days later our big starting game of the season. So, of course we will have to make changes.
“I’d love to say we can use all [the players] but now I had only a short talk with Doc Sarah [Lindsay] and she told me, ‘He feels a little bit, he feels a little bit, he has his back...” stuff like this. It’s pre-season so we have to get through it and then we have to deal with it.”
As for Liverpool’s fitness issues, the main concerns for Klopp and the medical staff are forward Diogo Jota and Alisson Becker, though in Alisson’s case he could be fit in time for Saturday’s Community Shield against Manchester City while Jota is some ways away.
There are also minor knocks to worry about and players not quite ready for 60 minutes or more on Wednesday when there’s another game on the weekend—and those who don’t face City on Saturday will be expected to get time against Strasbourg on Sunday.
“Obviously Diogo is not here,” Klopp added. “From the boys who are injured but here, Ali is closest—not for Salzburg but then we will see. He is close to get back. I will wait for messages and see who can train this afternoon, then the game tomorrow we will see.”