With the season less than a week away, yesterday’s friendly against Athletic Bilbao and today’s against Osasuna are a last chance for Jürgen Klopp to get the players he expects to play a role in the coming weeks up to match fitness.
For at least two, though, despite being fit there will be no opportunity to play, with Xherdan Shaqiri and
Ben DaviesNat Phillips both held out of the lineup for the Reds against Osasuna tonight after the duo wasn’t involved against Athletic on Sunday.
According to Goal’s Neil Jones, in both cases it’s with an eye towards a transfer, and while the connected journalist says that nothing is imminent, players are rarely sat out for pre-season friendlies if a deal isn’t at least getting close.
Liverpool are seeking £12-15M for Shaqiri, with Lazio and Napoli both regularly linked this summer. Phillips, meanwhile, has been linked with half the clubs in the Premier League outside the European places and could fetch a similar fee.
While Phillips’ departure is unlikely to lead to a new first team signing, Shaqiri leaving—along with young Harvey Elliott shifting into midfield to shore up numbers there—would likely be precursor to the signing of a new forward.