These five, for us, have returned from the pre-season Tour of America in a stronger position than they arrived!
Firmino’s the top scorer of pre-season with three goals and he’s registered two assists as well. The Brazilian is fully fit and unlike his team-mates who played a the Euros or Copa America, he’s had a full summer with Jurgen Klopp and the backroom staff. For this reason we think he’s a certainty to start the campaign in the side, probably at no.10 but maybe up top in a false-9 role. We’ve seen flashes of Firmino’s skill, vision and finishing ability in America and we hope he continues his upward curve into the new season.
Solid as a rock, in short. The Estonian arrived to little fanfare, but with Mamadou Sakho, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez injured, expect the 30-year-old to start the season at centre-back alongside Dejan Lovren. Klavan is strong, no-nonsense, but also emits a calmness on the ball that should benefit our backline – whether he’s a short-term option or a regular in the side.
Ojo joined the Tour late due to his participation with England Under-19s at the Euros, but he quickly made an impression – potentially swaying Klopp’s mind into keeping him rather than sending him on loan this term. The teenager scored against Roma and provided an assist v Milan – producing something Jordon Ibe regularly failed to – end product. Ojo is also the only left-footed attacking midfielder we have, which again gives the boss a reason to keep hold of him. We hope he does – Ojo’s raw pace and power is potentially devastating.
Origi’s not played much during pre-season because of his involvement with Belgium at the Euros, but his goal against AC Milan gives Klopp a real headache ahead of the campaign. Does he go with Daniel Sturridge – the world-class finisher – or Origi – the world-class worker (with more pace and an equal amount of trickery)? Origi’s talent knows no ceiling and to hold him back now would stunt his rapid development, but Sturridge is potentially the league’s most deadly striker. Perhaps Klopp will deploy them together… How exciting would that be?
Loris Karius’s injury has given the much debated Belgian a Liverpool lifeline. It looked to all the world that Mignolet would begin this campaign on the bench, but an injury to the 22-year-old German, which will keep him out for two months, will see Mignolet start our season between the sticks. He’s hardly covered himself in glory in America, involved in a dodgy goal against Roma last time out – but the jersey is now his to lose.