Liverpool’s pre-season 2018: Everything you need to know

Liverpool’s pre-season 2018: Everything you need to know

Dates for the diary, when players will return and everything else you need to know about Liverpool's countdown to the new season.

Matt Addison

Jurgen Klopp and the first batch of Liverpool players returned to Melwood last Monday as preparations for the 2018/19 season got underway.

Summer signings Naby Keita and Fabinho, neither of whom have been involved in the World Cup in Russia, were among the first to return as they attended training for the first time in their new surroundings.

Alberto Moreno and Danny Ings, who may yet leave the club in search of more regular football, were among the first players back, as were Adam Lallana and James Milner, who came top in the bleep test organised by the club’s fitness team.

Andreas Kornmayer led the fitness drills, while Pep Ljinders, the highly-rated Dutch coach who left around the turn of the year for a stint as a number one at NEC Nijmegen in the Netherlands, returned to the first-team setup.

Zeljko Buvac, who left the club mysteriously in the build-up to the Champions League final, has still not returned. He remains a club employee but there has been no date set as to when he might come back into the coaching setup if indeed he does return.

Liverpool have a very compact schedule once again as they look to reach peak fitness in time for the new season, beginning this Saturday.

Local friendlies

Liverpool face four north-west sides all away from home before jetting off on their US tour, beginning with Chester on Saturday.

The Chester game kicks off at 3pm UK time – the same time England face Sweden in their World Cup quarter-final clash in Samara – and tickets for the Liverpool end have all sold out.

The team is likely to be made up largely of under-23 players, with no player expected to feature for more than 45 minutes.

Keita and Fabinho are likely to be handed their first taste of action in a red shirt, while Harry Wilson and Divock Origi will be some of the returning loanees looking to catch the eye. Loris Karius could play a part in goal.

A trip to Prenton Park – where Liverpool's under-23s play the majority of their home games – follows, with Tranmere Rovers the opponents on Wednesday, July 11. Liverpool won 4-0 in this fixture almost exactly a year ago with Milner, Marko Grujic, Pedro Chirivella and Ben Woodburn on target.

Liverpool received an allocation of 2000 tickets for the game on the other side of the River Mersey, with Reds fans seated in the Kop end of the stadium. A small number of tickets still remain.

Like with the Chester clash, this game would be at the same time as a potential World Cup semi-final for England should they make it, with Dejan Lovren’s Croatia a potential opponent.

The penultimate local friendly is at Bury, with kick-off at 3pm on Saturday, July 14, by which time the World Cup stars who were eliminated in the group stage might have returned, before the Ewood Park match against Blackburn Rovers on the evening of Thursday, July 19.

The former is already sold out, while the latter still has tickets remaining.

The US tour

Klopp and the players will fly out to America following the Blackburn game, where they will face Borussia Dortmund (Sunday, July 22 at 9:05pm), Manchester City (Tuesday, July 26 at 1:05am) and Manchester United  (Saturday, July 28 at 10:05pm).

All the matches are anticipated to draw in crowds of at least 75,000, with the Michigan Stadium, the second-largest football stadium in the world owned by Michigan University, selected for the United fixture, with a capacity of 107,000.

It was a sell-out two years ago when Manchester United faced Real Madrid in pre-season and the same is expected this time around.

Liverpool have a huge following across the Atlantic, and the trip serves as a commercial venture as well as having on-the-field importance.

By this time, the hope is that one or two additional signings will be able to join the group, with the deal for Nabil Fekir not entirely dead and potential moves for the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri possible as the World Cup nears a conclusion.

The final furlong

The final two games of a packed schedule see Liverpool face Napoli in Dublin on Saturday, August 4, before an Anfield game against Torino at 7:30pm on Tuesday, August 7. A limited number of seats remain on sale for both of those games.

Liverpool used to have a regular pre-season friendly at Anfield to complete their preparations, but that was disrupted by the expansion of the Main Stand. That tradition has now been resurrected.

The new Premier League season kicks off for Liverpool the following weekend against West Ham United at home, with the Reds looking to build on a campaign that saw them reach the Champions League final in May.

That game is currently pencilled in as being a 3pm kick-off on Saturday, August 11, but will probably change once the televised matches are announced imminently.