Bradford City 1-3 Liverpool: Klopp searches for new life in key players as Reds cruise to second pre-season friendly victory
(Getty Images - John Powell)

It is no common secret that Jurgen Klopp is accustomed to numerous tactical tweaks during the pre-season period and throughout Liverpool's second summer outing the Reds had a number of senior members operating in unfamiliar roles during the Merseysider's 3-1 victory over Bradford City on Sunday afternoon.

Adam Lallana has emerged as Klopp's latest reinvention as the Englishman starred in a deep-lying midfield role that could see him potentially used as an alternative number six to Fabinho in the campaign ahead.

Klopp has had a notorious success of finding hidden gems in usually unsuitable roles. James Milner spent the entirety of the 2016/17 season as a makeshift left-back. Trent Alexander-Arnold was a midfielder before the German manager transformed the local lad into one of the most feared right-backs on the planet.

However, perhaps Klopp's greatest success was his decision to develop Roberto Firmino into a potent number nine in his second season at Liverpool following an inaugural campaign that left his position in the team undefined.

Lallana's reinvention comes after yet another torrid hit and miss season that saw the former Southampton man constantly back-and-forth between the treatment table and the starting XI.

The upcoming campaign could represent Lallana's final opportunity to cement a key role in Klopp's Champions League-winning squad. Lallana has started in both Liverpool's opening pre-season matches as a number six and seriously caught the eye of his manager.

“Adam is the kind of player who can play that and he enjoys this 'Jorginho' role – I hope Maurizio Sarri doesn't see the games or he will make an offer,” said Klopp, after a 3-1 win over Bradford City on Sunday.

“It is about getting Adam rhythm, bringing him in early and doing things he is naturally good at: small spaces, passing the ball, and then from time-to-time offering the runs in behind as well and together with Milly (James Milner) that is possible. For us it is another option.

“Adam is the kind of player who can play that and he enjoys this 'Jorginho' role – I hope Maurizio Sarri doesn't see the games or he will make an offer,” said Klopp, after a 3-1 over Bradford City.

“It is about getting Adam rhythm, bringing him in early and doing things he is naturally good at: small spaces, passing the ball, and then from time-to-time offering the runs in behind as well and together with Milly (James Milner) that is possible. For us it is another option.

“He needs a bit of luck, like we all do in life. We have to come through without injuries, that would be cool, and then we have a couple of new players, I would say, this season.”

Pre-season represents the perfect opportunity for youngsters and returning loan players to attract the attention of the head coach, however, it was two of Liverpool's senior players that proved to be the difference against the hosts at the weekend.

Both Milner and Lallana showed their class highlighting the gulf in quality between them and the League Two outlet. The visiting Reds took a three-goal lead before the break at Valley Park before Klopp made 11 changes at half-time for the second consecutive match.

The second period wasn't as an eventful affair as the first as Klopp went on to describe what was a 'boring' second half as Liverpool failed to add to their early dominance.

Milner is having an act for goal in the opening stages of pre-season and was on the scoresheet again in West Yorkshire after being credited with two goals inside the opening 12 minutes.

The 33-year-old's first strike took a major deflection from former Everton striker James Vaughan before returning to his familiar role as the club penalty taker to slot past Richard O'Donnel and silence the pantomime jeers from the home fans following the Liverpool skipper's connection with former club Leeds United.

Rhian Brewster also made it three in his first two senior appearances for the Reds demonstrating predatory instincts to latch onto Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fierce shot that was originally pushed sideward by O'Donnell but Brewster was there to tuck home from the tight angle.

The second half was rather a low key from a Liverpool perspective and Bradford really did merit a goal following Eoin Doyle converted spot-kick after Reds youngster Adam Lewis was penalised for a foul.

However, the events on the pitch mattered not in comparison to what took place off the field. Stephen Darby, the former FA Youth Cup-winning Liverpool captain and Bradford full-back whose career was ended by a serious injury brought fans to an emotional silence after speaking movingly before and after the game.

In-fact the spectacle meant that it was Bradford's highest attendance since 1986, with over 24,000 supporters in attendance.

Darby led both teams on a lap of honour at full-time - alongside partner and England Lionesses captain Steph Houghton a fitting tribute for such an event which epitomised the power of sport concluding with trademark hug from the classy Klopp - a key reminder that some battles in life are more important than those on a football pitch.

“It was very important – whether he played one game for Liverpool first team or 400 it doesn't matter. It was a real nice opportunity to show our support for Stephen and his family,” concluded the Liverpool manager following yet another successful afternoon's work as the Reds make their final preparations ahead of their tour of the US which they fly out to on Tuesday morning.

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