Article by Lauren Black – @Lauren_Black9
What a trip that was. A brilliant weekend in Dublin, being at the Redmen live show on Friday night was amazing and getting to watch the Reds dominate Napoli 5-0 on Saturday wasn’t too shabby either. What I didn’t enjoy was having to get up at 4:30 yesterday to catch my flight home having been out until 2:30…
The Reds put on a dominant display against Italian side Napoli at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday and watching them play like that makes me even more excited about the season starting in under a week’s time.
Alisson with a debut to remember
I’m going to be honest and a lot of you will hate me for this but I had my doubts about Alisson before signing him. I wanted us to sign Oblak and I wasn’t fully convinced that Alisson was going to be the guy to fix our goalkeeping struggles.
I have completely changed my opinion after one game. He was brilliant on Saturday, he didn’t have too much to do in terms of saves to make but when Napoli did threaten I wasn’t nervous. What I was really impressed with was how good his distribution was, there was a moment where he literally kicked the ball from his box into the path of Mo Salah and we were on the attack again with James Milner putting us 1-0 up. He kept picking out Robertson or Clyne on the wings and whenever he received the ball at his first he didn’t panic and just kick it away from the goal, he took a touch and surveyed his options and just looked calm on the ball.
I know it’s only been one game and once he gets into proper Premier League action I will be able to make a proper assessment about how I feel towards the keeper but right now I am confident he is going to be a brilliant signing for us.
Clyne giving Klopp options
It looks like Joe Gomez will be battling it out for a centre back place this season rather than the right-back position this season with him playing the majority of pre-season there. Nathaniel Clyne is now back from injury and has been impressing over pre-season, I was really impressed with how he performed on Saturday as he didn’t put a foot wrong, I still think Trent will start the season but Klopp definitely has a difficult decision to make coming up to the opener against West Ham.
What a bargain Xherdan Shaqiri was
The Swiss international signed for £13m and has been impressing Liverpool fans since his arrival. When he first signed he was thought of as more of a back-up player for Salah or Mane and no one expected him to be in contention for the starting XI on Sunday.
With a lot of options in midfield you wouldn’t think Klopp would think about playing Shaqiri in the number 10 role but I think he linked up well with the players when he came on and was influential in a lot of Liverpool attacks so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him there when he comes on, on Sunday.
The front three back together again
I don’t think any other Liverpool fan was happier than when they saw that front three play together again. After what we experienced last season with these players, I have no doubt Salah, Mane and Firmino will be able to replicate what they achieved last season. Over the course of pre-season we have seen glimpses of the Salah and Mane of last season with them both getting a couple of goals and they did just that on Saturday. Unfortunately Mane didn’t get on the scoresheet but he was fully involved in the game, Salah on the other hand added another goal and he took it really well.
Bobby was back in action again and put in a good display too, I don’t think anyone is too bothered about him not getting on the scoresheet as it was more important for him to get minutes on the pitch, he’ll be playing again vs Torino but I’m not sure he will start against West Ham on Sunday.
Looking ahead to the Hammers
The Premier League is back in action this weekend and Liverpool have to wait until Sunday to get their first game underway. I think Klopp has got a difficult decision on his hands trying to pick a starting XI but this would be mine.
Alisson, Trent, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Keita, Milner, Salah, Firmino, Mane.
I’ve gone for Trent at RB over Clyne because I think he will be our first choice again this season and Klopp seems to be over the moon with the fact he came back early. He didn’t play much at the World Cup and with him only being 19 he has probably got energy for days so does not need much recovery time.
The midfield three of Fabinho, Keita and Milner seems the best option for me. I was really impressed with Wijnaldum at the weekend but I think the experience of Milner with Henderson still missing is needed in that midfield just until the new players have found their feet in the league, plus Milner was also really impressive against Napoli so he was a no brainer for me.
And obviously the usual front three, I think it will be the same as Trent with Bobby as although he didn’t feature in most games for Brazil, he did not last a full 90 minutes so his recovery time will be a lot less too. He won’t play the full game I think with Sturridge replacing him around 60 minutes I think.
Let me know what you think the starting eleven will be at the weekend and I have no doubt we will be able to grab all three points on the opening day.
Article by Lauren Black [email protected]_Black9