Yesterday we were critical when speaking about the lack of real opposition Liverpool has faced on their pre-season tour, and while it is primarily a chance for players to work on their fitness ahead of the upcoming season, it is also a chance for the manager to get his starting Xi sorted out in his mind.
It is also not a perfect science either thinking that a player who performs well in preseason will bring it once the actions starts, with Iago Aspas being a fine example of that.
So with that in mind let’s have a look at who we feel has done enough to warrant a place in Brendan Rodgers team, and who has not.
First off we have to say that Nathaniel Clyne has impressed us from Day One, and while we know there is no real competition for his starting spot in the team the former Southampton right-back could prove to be Brendan Rodgers best buy of the summer. Costing only £12.5 million the 24-year-old appears as if he has been playing for Liverpool for years and given the fact he is able to equally balance his defensive duties while going forward we feel he is a ten-fold improvement on Glen Johnson and will serve the Reds well not only next season, but in the years to come.
Raheem who anybody? The departure of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City has presented 19-year-old Jordan Ibe with the opportunity to cement himself in Brendan Rodgers team, and while we do not expect to see him starting every week we certainly hope he will at least be on the subs bench, as his versatility to play on either wing can provide Liverpool with an added weapon as his rocket shot in Malaysia showed us.
The 23-year-old former Burnley striker divided Liverpool fans when they heard he was going to be signed on a free transfer from Turf Moor, with many fans disappointed that the Reds could not have done better than to have signed an obscure striker from a club that was not also struggling for goals but also fighting relegation. Yet watching Ings on tour we have to say his running off the ball was superb, and the energy he put into the front line was what Liverpool were sorely missing last season.
Did Not Impress
First up Lazar Markovic has so far continued to disappoint us since his move from Benfica last summer, and we cannot help but feel now that Raheem Sterling has gone this will be his last chance to impress Brendan Rodgers before being sold on at a loss next summer. The talent is obviously there as he showed in the clubs first game against a Thai all-star XI, but to be quite honest he really needs to step it up.
The big Croatian was obviously bought to partner Slovakian international Martin Skrtel at the back of Liverpool defence, but quite honestly as things stand at the moment we would give the start to Mamadou Sakho as there has not only been an improvement in his game since signing from Paris Saint-Germain, but also an increase in confidence as shown when he brings the ball out. This is where we think Lovren is struggling, as he tries to over think things and finds himself coming up short time and again finding himself in positions with no one to pass to or struggling against an attacker going one on one. We keep hearing that given time he will come good, but the question remains how much time does Liverpool need to give before deciding to sell.
Origi looks far from the finished product as his misses on goal showed during Liverpool’s tour, and while the former Lille youngster is new to Anfield there is a lot of work on the training ground to be put in before the Belgium international takes the field for real. A future prospect who we would imagine will flourish while playing with Christian Benteke, yet he is far from the finished product yet, with us given the choice of having to pick making Ings a no-brainer selection over the 20-year-old.