Liverpool vs Blackpool Preview: Neil Critchley returns to Anfield for Reds' final friendly
(Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

A depleted Liverpool squad welcomes Blackpool to Anfield on Saturday afternoon with the new season on the horizon.

The Reds have taken the opportunity to arrange one final friendly after losing last weekend's Community Shield against Arsenal on penalties.

But with much of the club's European contingent on international duty, Jurgen Klopp, who was able to field two separate XIs in the fixtures against Stuttgart and RB Salzburg in Austria, will have considerably fewer options at his disposal.

Nonetheless, those who have remained on Merseyside will hope to stake their claim for a starting role against newly-promoted Leeds United on the opening day.

Team news

Each member of Liverpool's first-choice back four (Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson) is instead preparing for UEFA Nations League fixtures.

The same goes for full-back deputies Neco Williams and Kostas Tsimikas and midfielders Georginio Wijnaldum, Marko Grujic and Harry Wilson.

Rhian Brewster, who was flying in pre-season prior to his decisive penalty miss at Wembley, is with England Under-21s.

However, the Reds' African and Brazilian stars are available for section, with no internationals scheduled until next month.

That means Alisson Becker is almost certain to start in goal, potentially making way for Adrian in the second half.

Ki-Jana Hoever is likely to fill-in at right-back, with Joel Matip in contention for minutes at centre-half after recovering from the injury which saw him miss the end of last season.

Billy Koumetio, the bright 17-year-old, Sepp van den Berg and Nathaniel Phillips are Klopp's other options in the heart of defence.

James Milner is poised to take up his former role at left-back.

In midfield, skipper Jordan Henderson could join Matip in making a comeback after rejoining training this week.

Fabinho and Naby Keita should start the game, leaving the third spot for Curtis Jones if Henderson isn't fit enough.

The frontline picks itself, but there will likely be gametime for Community Shield goalscorer Takumi Minamino, Harvey Elliott and potentially forgotten man Xherdan Shaqiri.

The opposition

League One Blackpool are managed by Liverpool's former Under-23 coach Neil Critchley.

Critchley, of course, oversaw a memorable FA Cup victory for the Reds' youth against Shrewsbury earlier this year when the first team was on its winter break.

Like Liverpool, Critchley's men are coming off the back of a penalty shoot-out defeat, in their case at the hands of Stoke in the first round of the EFL Cup.

A week earlier, they had welcomed the Reds' neighbours Everton and stunningly raced into a three-goal lead, only for the game to wind up finishing level.

Saturday's friendly will be seen as preparation for the second competitive fixture of their season against Barrow in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night.

The Seasiders actually ran out victorious on their last trip to Anfield back in 2010/11. That remains the only Premier League campaign in the club's history.

Television details

Liverpool fans can watch the game live through the club's in-house service LFCTV or LFCTVGO. Kick-off is at 15.00 UK time.