Liverpool vs Stuttgart Preview: Champions back in action
Creator: John Powell Credit: Liverpool FC via Getty Images

The Reds will look to get straight back into their winning routine as they embark on their first match in preparation for what they hope will be a successful title defence. 

Whilst Saturday's clash is likely to be a combination of players from the entirety of the Liverpool squad, it will provide Jurgen Klopp with the opportunity to assess the levels of fitness within his squad with the resumption of the Premier League just weeks away. 

Given the bizarre circumstances, the champions have been afforded almost no time off at all, although there was an enforced mid-season break of around three months. 

Klopp will only have this fixture and one other in order to try out any new methods before a return to competitive action. As the champions of England, the Reds will take part in this year's Community Shield, exactly week after this opening pre-season fixture. 

The Opposition 

This meeting will also be VfB Stuttgart's first following a short break of their own. 

The newly-promoted Bundesliga side managed by, or to give him his proper title, their 'Head of Sport' is former esteemed Stuttgart and Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger, who also represented Everton, albeit on just seven occasions. 

Hitzlsperger has lead Stuttgart back to the Bundesliga at the first time of asking following their second-place finish in the German second tier.

The Reds will have to be wary of the talented Argentinian attacking midfielder Nicolás González. The 22-year-old was the club's top goalscorer last term with 15 goals in all competitions. 

The German side will, however, be without legendary striker Mario Gomez, who played and scored in his last game in professional football for the club in Stuttgart's last outing. 

Recent Form

Neither team has any form to speak of for obvious reasons, the Reds finished their season with a victory at St James' Park whilst VfB Stuttgart crowned their own successful season with a resounding 6-1 final day victory over SV Sandhausen

Klopp's side seen a noticeable dip in form following the confirmation of their title success, uncharacteristic errors crept into their normally polished performances, although having ended three-decades of domestic league heartache - they were excused the odd lapse. 

Both teams go into their respective new season's with plenty of optimism of the back of successful campaigns, although the objectives may differ for the upcoming term, both squads will be positive they can enjoy success this season. 

Past Meetings

This will be only the second time the two clubs have met in a match of any kind between the clubs, the previous encounter a friendly in August 1980, perhaps it could be a once every four decades thing.

The two clubs do not share much of a history full stop, although young Liverpool defender Nat Phillips did spend much of the truncated 2019/20 campaign with Hitzlsperger's side. 

What The Boss Had To Say

On the match, the Reds boss told LFCTV: ''We are really pleased we found this calibre of opponent.'' 

''What I want to see from the boys is that we play out football in our way'' the German manager, who was born in Stuttgart and supported them as a child, said. 

On the pre-season schedule more generally Klopp described the mini-break as a positive, and he believes come time for the Community Shield both his side and opponents Arsenal will be in the middle of their preparations.

Team News

Whilst it is almost impossible to predict either side and with the distinct possibility of both managers naming two completely separate elevens for each half, it would be foolish to even try. 

What we do know is for Liverpool this match should represent an opportunity for Reds fans to see their new signing Kostas Tsimikas in action for the first time since joining the club at the beginning of the month. 

Trent Alexander-Arnold has not traveled with the squad as he continues an individual training plan in the UK. Whilst this match will definitely come soon for a return to action for skipper Jordan Henderson, who despite being back in training has not fully recovered from his knee injury. 

Fresh injury concerns over Xherdan Shaqiri and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as both men missed training in Austria on Thursday. The latter has flown back to Liverpool and is expected to miss the remainder of pre-season. 

For Stuttgart VfB supporters they too will be relishing the chance to see their new arrivals in the flesh, no fewer than eight new signings have been made at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. Including Konstantinos Mavropanos, a Greek centre-back who arrives on loan from Arsenal. 

All of Liverpool's pre-season fixtures will be broadcast live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO