Home News Salah, Doak, Mac & more – 5 takeaways from Liverpool in Singapore

Salah, Doak, Mac & more – 5 takeaways from Liverpool in Singapore

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Liverpool’s time in Singapore has come to a close, with plenty to learn from the international legs of their pre-season preparations this summer.

The Reds closed off their trip to the Far East with a 4-3 defeat to Bayern Munich, which came after a 4-0 victory over Championship side Leicester.

While the result may not have been ideal, the focus for Jurgen Klopp and his players will have been broader, with pre-season never showing the finished product.

Instead, it is a time for fine-tuning in many areas and experimentation in others – and it may only be now, as Liverpool fly to Merseyside, that things streamline.

Klopp’s squad will return to the AXA Training Centre on Friday, before taking on Darmstadt in their final friendly on Monday, with Chelsea the opponents as the Premier League kicks off on August 13.

With that in mind, here are five things we can take away from Liverpool’s tour of Singapore.

 

Salah the only guaranteed starter in attack

SINGAPORE - Wednesday, August 2, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and FC Bayern Munich FC at the Singapore National Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Throughout pre-season so far, Klopp has shared out the minutes throughout his squad – with that no different between the five senior forwards at his disposal.

The final friendly in Singapore gave more of an indication as to his plans for the trip to Chelsea on August 13, though there were few giveaways when it came to his forward line.

Mohamed Salah was the only attacker to play more than 45 minutes – with Cody Gakpo clocking an hour on the pitch but shifting to midfield at half-time – which suggests, unsurprisingly, he is first choice.

But beyond the Egyptian, there are no guarantees which of Gakpo, Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz will start at Stamford Bridge.

It is far from an issue, though, as all four of those players have been on fire in pre-season – with the manager boasting two elite, very different options both on the left and up front.

 

Doak looks ready

SINGAPORE - Wednesday, August 2, 2023: Liverpool's Ben Doak during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and FC Bayern Munich FC at the Singapore National Stadium. Bayern won 4-3. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

He may not be a contender to start at this stage, but pre-season so far has shown Ben Doak to be a genuine option for Liverpool heading into the new campaign.

His outings against Leicester and Bayern in Singapore only magnified this, with the young Scot not cowering under the challenge of quality opposition.

There is plenty to work on for Doak, of course, namely in his final ball – as shown with a crossed drilled too heavily into Nunez in the defeat to Bayern.

SINGAPORE - Wednesday, August 2, 2023: Liverpool's Ben Doak during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and FC Bayern Munich FC at the Singapore National Stadium. Bayern won 4-3. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

But his tenacity, pace and skill on the right flank could make him a useful alternative to Salah in certain games, and more from the bench.

Doak may not be the only youngster to have earned greater exposure with his efforts in the Far East, either, with Bobby Clark and Jarell Quansah among those to have also impressed.

 

Mac Allister could settle quicker than Szoboszlai

SINGAPORE - Sunday, July 30, 2023: Liverpool's Alexis Mac Allister during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at the Singapore National Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It would be wrong to draw conclusions on either of Liverpool’s new signings at this stage, but as it stands, it looks more likely that Alexis Mac Allister establishes himself from the off.

Much will depend, of course, on his response to a blow to the knee against Bayern, but the belief is that it was a minor issue.

The Argentine’s ability to knit midfield and attack was most evident in the 4-0 thrashing of Leicester, showing he will be a valuable player in this new system.

SINGAPORE - Sunday, July 30, 2023: Liverpool's Dominik Szoboszlai is substituted by manager Jürgen Klopp during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at the Singapore National Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Dominik Szoboszlai, meanwhile, has shown flashes of the quality that convinced Klopp and his staff that he was worth a £60 million outlay, but his role in the side is, as yet, less defined.

Both will be vital to Liverpool’s development in the coming months, but perhaps more could be expected of the No. 10 early on.

 

Jones is our No. 6…for now

SINGAPORE - Wednesday, August 2, 2023: Liverpool's Curtis Jones during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and FC Bayern Munich FC at the Singapore National Stadium. Bayern won 4-3. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It had been hoped that Liverpool would finalise a deal for Southampton midfielder Romeo Lavia before the trip to Singapore, but they now return with no progress made.

The club appear to have dallied with negotiations over the Belgian teenager, with a second bid only landing on Tuesday – to be promptly rejected.

While they consider an ongoing pursuit of Lavia along with new interest in Fluminense’s Andre, an in-house solution has been found in the No. 6 role.

Fabinho and Jordan Henderson have both left, Thiago, Stefan Bajcetic and Tyler Morton are all injured, leaving Curtis Jones to start in the position against both Leicester and Bayern.

Even if a signing is made between now and the clash with Chelsea, the 22-year-old has shown the maturity and appreciation of space to fill in for now – though may not be a long-term fix.

 

Familiar concerns with the defence

SINGAPORE - Wednesday, August 2, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and FC Bayern Munich FC at the Singapore National Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There have been no changes to Liverpool’s defensive ranks so far this summer, and it seems as though the same flaws are persisting.

Though Jones’ on-ball work has been a positive, Fabinho‘s switch to Al Ittihad has left even more of a void in terms of shielding the defence.

With no new centre-back signing secured yet, Klopp’s first-choice back line remains Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ibrahima Konate, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson.

But with Alexander-Arnold shifting into midfield in possession, there is a requirement for Robertson to play as a centre-back and Konate to cover two positions worth of space.

Against Bayern, the importance of Konate was laid clear as Joel Matip failed to provide the speed or physicality needed as right centre-back, while on the other flank, Robertson was lost between roles as he still looked to drive forwards.

Four more goals conceded makes it 10 shipped in four games this pre-season, and with only one friendly left to play, there is structural work to do as Liverpool return to Merseyside.