Jurgen Klopp reserved special praise for Kostas Tsimikas and other fringe players as Liverpool stepped up their pre-season preparations with a double-header against Bologna.
Liverpool played two back-to-back friendlies against the Italian side, each lasting an hour. It gave Klopp’s men the chance to build up their fitness levels as the start of the season approaches. For some, it was another opportunity to remind the manager of their credentials.
Several players have been linked with departures from Liverpool for the remainder of the summer transfer window. But some of those were on show on Thursday and took their chance to impress Klopp.
Liverpool won the first match 2-0, with goals from Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane, and the second game 1-0 courtesy of Takumi Minamino.
Minamino is among those facing an uncertain future after spending part of last season on loan at Southampton. Klopp confirmed his enthusiasm for the Japan international’s pre-season performances, though, after also giving praise to left-back Tsimikas – who is aiming for a bigger role this season after failing to take many opportunities from first-choice Andy Robertson.
“Kostas was really good today, that is true,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website. “Owen Beck played 15 minutes and Taki [Minamino] has had a really good pre-season, it is true.”
Likewise, Xherdan Shaqiri was complimented for assisting Minamino’s goal while doubts about his own future linger. Liverpool are reportedly ready to sanction a cheap exit amid interest from mainland Europe.
Klopp, however, is glad to be able to see his quality. Meanwhile, the coach also noticed returning defender Joe Gomez adding more to his game.
“Seeing the quality of Shaq here and all these things is good,” he added. “So is having centre-backs, playing football and Joe is [playing] new long balls from right to left, a nice little asset and we can switch the game quicker, so it is all good.
“We have to, even after a long time the guys have not played with each other, we have to get used to each other again, quickly and then we have to make sure we are ready for the season.
“But we don’t prepare just for Norwich, we prepare for the whole season, so we will see who is ready next week. We have two more (friendly) games to go.”
Derisory bid received for forward
One player not namechecked by Klopp, although involved in the match, was forward Divock Origi.
Once a hero for Liverpool, without ever being a regular starter, his opportunities have faded significantly in recent months. The striker is now looking likely to leave and a bid has reportedly arrived.
Wolves are keen on the Belgium international. However, they will have to raise their opening offer…