When it comes to pre-season friendlies, building up match fitness is the point and the scoreline secondary—and perhaps most important at the end of the day is to build up that match fitness while avoiding any significant injuries.
“Travel, play, travel is always a bit exhausting,” noted Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp following his side’s 4-4 draw with Greuther Fürth. “But that’s it and you have to go through it, that’s what we did. Most important, nobody got injured.”
On the less positive side, even if it’s pre-season, conceding four times to 2.Bundesliga opposition isn’t ideal, perhaps mostly due to the fact that it reflects ongoing uncertainty surrounding Liverpool’s options at the base of midfield.
Klopp and the club began pre-season believing that their transfer business in midfield had largely been wrapped up with the arrivals of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai. Then rather unexpectedly that situation changed.
Fabinho, their specialist at the six, and versatile veteran Jordan Henderson both had their heads turned by interest from Saudi Arabia. Now, the Reds are half way through pre-season and look to have less depth in midfield than last season.
So far, Trent Alexander-Arnold has failed to impress filling in in the six, but with Stefan Bajcetic and Thiago Alcantara unavailable he is the only option. For now, though, as Klopp was quick to reiterate, all that really matters is fitness.
“Nobody wants to concede four goals,” the manager noted, “but you saw in the second half that we were too late in the mind, passed the ball too late, our first touch wasn’t good, and so that’s how we brought them back into the game.
“On the other hand we scored some really nice goals, to be honest. So a lot of good individual performances and what’s most important is we had minutes for everybody and nobody injured. That makes it a good camp so I’m happy.”