In pictures: Liverpool start pre-season campaign
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Liverpool got their pre-season matches underway on Tuesday and Michael Edwards may have to keep a close eye on two players in particular to determine what he does in the transfer market. Ibrahima Konate made his first appearance for Liverpool in the back-to-back 30-minute friendlies against Stuttgart and Wacker Innsbruck.
It was Klopp’s first opportunity to take a look at all his available players in a match setting with a host of young players involved.
But there were also chances for Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Konate, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita to build up their match fitness ahead of the new season.
The likes of Jordan Henderson, Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota and Andy Robertson are yet to join up with the squad having being given an extended break after the Copa America and Euro 2020.
Pre season is often used as an opportunity for managers to see the young players up close and how they fare alongside the first team.
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However, it can also be a brief indicator for how players will be utilised in the upcoming season.
Divock Origi and Firmino are Liverpool’s only recognised strikers, although Jota often filled in through the middle last season.
The lack of options to lead the line has led to reports suggesting Liverpool could look at signing a new striker this summer.
But Klopp gave an indication that he’s prepared to try Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as the No 9 as the English attacker was deployed through the middle against Stuttgart.
Signing a replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum has also been touted as a top priority, despite Liverpool’s many options in midfield currently.
Liverpool have been crying out for a midfielder capable of joining in on the attack or creating space for the forward players.
Florian Neuhaus has been linked with reports claiming an approach has already been made on a possible move.
But Harvey Elliott may be an option to play in that role this season after Klopp played the 18-year-old in midfield against Stuttgart.
It will become more clear if it’s something Klopp tries out more often in the remaining pre-season friendlies.
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Liverpool continue to be linked with players in both those positions, but Klopp was clearly delighted with how both Elliott and Oxlade-Chamberlain performed in their unorthodox roles.
“I don’t think Harvey had ever played that position for us, but he looked good,” Klopp told LFC TV after the game.
“Ox you could see in the first few minutes immediately that it is an option, definitely. We will see how that goes on.
“Ibou [Konate] did really well and that’s what we expected, he looks really good in training.
“First game with all the young boys, they have really showed up in training but it is different than when you play a first-team with all the kids together in the team.
“It is tough, but no problem – life is tough and we have to give them the opportunity to get tested in these kinds of games. We do that and now we carry on.”
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