Jurgen Klopp was unimpressed with his side’s performance in defeat to Napoli on Sunday, but stressed it’s only a matter of time before Liverpool improve.
A 3-0 loss in Edinburgh wasn’t ideal either in terms of results or performance, with a flat display lacking in attacking thrust.
Speaking at his press conference after the match, Klopp wasn’t unduly perturbed by the low-key performances of late and pointed to half a dozen senior players set to return still, with five of them available to join the squad on Monday.
The Reds’ squad was also boosted this weekend and Klopp handed a debut to new signing Harvey Elliott, who joined from Fulham earlier on Sunday.
The 16-year-old played the latter stages of the game and looked generally bright, and while the boss wants to see him get time on the pitch he acknowledges that there is work ahead for the wide forward.
“Let’s work with him. He needs game time and we will see where he gets that, but he’s obviously a fine, fine footballer and that’s the reason why we were really interested.”
Speculation has been rife about the latter’s future all summer—but Klopp confirmed it will be sale or stay, with no further spells out on loan.
“The time is over, I think, for loans, because of [Kent’s] age. The players need to find a place where they can settle. A loan is not an option.”
Xherdan Shaqiri, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino will all be back in training from Monday and on the training camp in France, but there could well still be a wide forward spot available with the seniors for a breakthrough youngster.
Wilson, Kent and now Elliott will all be hoping to play a role there.
Meanwhile, defeat to Napoli makes it four successive pre-season games without a win for the Reds—but the boss isn’t panicking.
Indeed, he was anticipating a difficult summer in terms of preparation for the new campaign, due to the late returns of several key players.
“I knew before we started that it would be exceptionally difficult because of the situation. We have to adapt to a few things and we have to create a specific spirit. For this we have a week’s time.
“For the first time since the Champions League final we have 99 per cent of the squad tomorrow, only Sadio is missing then, and that’s the moment where we really start talking and preparing a couple of things and then we have to go again.
“That you lose players during a pre-season, we are used to – that happened from time to time. But that they don’t start from the beginning and come a couple of days before or after we start with the season is not cool.
“Again, that’s how it is and we prepared everybody as good as possible. We have to fight the start of the season 100 per cent with all we have. The good thing is, if the opponents want to analyse us now, they think ‘easy job’, but we will be a different animal next week.”
Liverpool head into the 19/20 season as one of the favourites for the league title, after finishing second last year and winning the Champions League.
The Reds and Man City were miles ahead of the chasing pack, but the boss thinks there will be other clubs involved this time around.
“It became a two-horse race last year but unfortunately there are too many good clubs in this competition.
“I think even City see it like this; they are the big favourite and all the others try to beat them – and we are one of these teams. At least we should give it a try, but we have to play better football and we will play better football, I know.”
Liverpool head to Evian for their final training camp on Monday, with their last pre-season game against Lyon on Wednesday in Geneva.
Andy Robertson expects the impending returns of several stars to provide Liverpool with a timely fillip with the start of the season now just a week away.
The gradual reforming Jürgen Klopp’s full squad will gather pace on Monday, when Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah will report for pre-season training in Evian.
Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri, meanwhile, are also set to re-join the group at the beginning of their training camp in the south of France.
Robertson believes that quintet will have an immediate and positive effect on the Reds, who face Lyon in Geneva on Wednesday prior to next weekend’s FA Community Shield clash with Manchester City at Wembley.
“The lads coming back, even if they don’t play, gives you a lift when they train and with the way they go about their business,” the left-back told Liverpoolfc.com following Sunday’s 3-0 friendly defeat to Napoli in Edinburgh.
“It doesn’t matter if they play on Wednesday or not, that’s completely up to the manager three days in, but that’s irrelevant: if they’re back in training and back around the place then it makes a difference.
“Mo and Bobby are two of our main men and Alisson was magnificent last season. They are huge characters in the changing room as well so that’ll be massive for us, and then Sadio will come back the following week.
“Once we get the whole team back together, and I think Shaq and Naby aren’t far off too, they’re players that are familiar around the set-up and around the system and that’s what we need. The quicker we get all of us back together then hopefully the better.
“But it’s not anyone else’s fault, the young lads or whatever who have come in, we’ve all not been good enough and maybe Bobby and Mo and people like that will give us the lift that we need. Hopefully that does happen.”
The absences of Alisson, Firmino, Keita, Mane, Salah and Shaqiri have afforded a number of younger players a chance to perform at first-team level during pre-season.
Harvey Elliott, who joined Liverpool from Fulham on Sunday, was the latest to do so against Napoli, and Robertson was impressed by the way the 16-year-old and his fellow youthful substitutes went about their task at Murrayfield.
“They’ve been great [throughout pre-season] and when young kids come in it’s a breath of fresh air sometimes,” the No.26 said.
“Harvey Elliott only signed this morning and he’s came on and done magnificent for 15 minutes. He’s only 16 years old and I think people forget that.
“Rhian’s had a great pre-season, Harry Wilson looked good when he came on today. Look, we need these players to push us and they need to push us in every single position and if they do that then the gaffer will give them the chance.
“Fair play to them, when they came on and we were all off then it did look better. I was watching and it looked a lot better than we felt in the first half so credit to them.
“But now it’s up to us to put in the performances, we’ve got one more game before it gets competitive and we need to get up to speed now.”
The Reds are now winless in their last four friendly outings, with Robertson eager to halt that sequence against Lyon before coming up against City.
“It wasn’t the best. Especially first half, the way we went about our business wasn’t good enough - I think we maybe got going five minutes before the end but other than that I think we were miles off it,” began the Scotland captain’s appraisal of the display in Edinburgh.
“Napoli outplayed us and outdone us, really, so it’s something that we’ll now need to look at because a week today our season starts and it doesn’t get any tougher than playing Man City. We need to be a hell of a lot better than we were today and that’s what this week coming up is for.
“When the season comes I’ve got no doubt that we’ll be ready, but we can’t get in the habit of losing or drawing because then it starts to sink in and you start getting used to it and that’s not what we need.
“So we need to start winning games: we’ve got a game Wednesday, hopefully we can get a result there, and then we go full throttle into the season and hopefully we have similar to last season.”
Watch Liverpool's friendly against Lyon live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO on Wednesday night.
Visit liverpoolfc.com/watch for more information and to see the live rights in your country.
Liverpool’s squad will be boosted by the returns of several players next week for the training camp in Evian, France, with two returning from injury and three from holiday.
But, following Sunday’s loss to Napoli in Scotland, the manager confirmed to the club website that both players returned to training for “one session” before the game—and so both will travel to the camp in France.
With numbers on the light side in attack, Shaqiri’s impending return to fitness will be a particular boost.
A succession of young players have been handed their chances in the absence of four senior attackers—Sadio Mane being the fourth, not due to return until after the Community Shield—but competitive action is fast approaching.
Klopp says Shaqiri and Keita are both likely to be involved in midweek against Lyon, the Reds’ final warm-up game for 2019/20.
“They are not here but they will come tomorrow because they train today. They will come tomorrow and should hopefully be a step further.
“Hopefully they can play a couple of minutes on Wednesday; five of six [aside from Sadio Mane] back, which is a good number.”
For Keita there is rather more competition for a midfield spot, but his added drive and creativity will also be welcome as the Reds have struggled to create at times this summer.
All five returning players—pending fitness tests and continued training sessions—are likely to feature against Lyon, perhaps alongside a few squad players who have been on the fringes for the last two friendlies.
A week of training and one friendly isn’t much to go on to get the returning quintet up to top speed, but Liverpool will need to hurry their star players back to full fitness as quickly as possible, particularly in attack, as they start a seven-pronged assault on the new season.
Liverpool fell to a disappointing and slightly worrying defeat in their penultimate pre-season game, giving Jurgen Klopp and his players plenty to work on ahead of the Community Shield next week.
Murrayfield, Edinburgh; Pre-season Friendly (6)
28 July, 2019
Goals: Insigne 17′, Milik 28′, Younes 52′Back four back but leaking goals
For the second pre-season game in a row, the back four which served Liverpool so well last season were able to take to the field alongside each other, but their display won’t have filled fans with confidence ahead of the new season.
The full-backs pushed forward while Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip picked out direct passes into the feet of midfielders of forwards, occasionally looking for lofted passes out wide, but on the other side of the game they struggled to cope with the Napoli attack.
The defensive line was very high as Napoli built from the back, and this meant Fabinho was able to press high up the pitch.
But this also meant Napoli were able to get in behind Liverpool if their runs and passes were timed right.
This was the case for the opening goal as Lorenzo Insigne latched on to Dries Mertens’ excellent first-time pass.
Thy will have been annoyed with the manner of each goal, all of which highlighted some sloppiness and different areas to work on during the next week.Robertson celebrated on home turf
All eyes were on the Scot playing in his home nation, and his name was greeted with one of the biggest cheers of the day as the teams were read out.
And it wasn’t long before he was into his stride, bombing down the left and putting in a cross from which Divock Origi should probably have opened the scoring, but his shot glanced wide.
On the rare occasion the Liverpool fans broke into song, it was to chant Robertson’s name.
The left-back was unfortunate to play a part in Napoli’s third goal as Simon Mignolet‘s save hit him and the ball fell into the path of substitute Amin Younes.
There was another big cheer as he was replaced by Ki-Jana Hoever, but he will have hoped for a more positive showing in the Scottish capital.Another new signing gets a run out
Having officially announced his signing earlier in the day, Liverpool included Harvey Elliott on the bench alongside fellow new signing Sepp van den Berg.
A confident, skilful left-footer with a good touch, 16-year-old Elliot looks like a good piece of business for Liverpool.
He was able to showcase some of his skills during the pre-match and half-time warm-ups, but the fans wanted to see him in the game.
They got their wish with just over ten minutes to go as he replaced Georginio Wijnaldum, and took up a position on the right of the front three.
He was immediately involved, winning a corner, as these late substitutes breathed some life into the game.
He let off one of Livepool’s few shots on goal, and even though it was well wide it was still appreciated by the fans who were just happy to see some attacking intent — and that’s something Elliott has plenty of.Napoli appreciation
Though the Murrayfield crowd was mostly red, there were moments where the Liverpool fans applauded and acknowledged the quality of their opponents.
Entertaining bits of skill and some all-round good play from Carlo Ancelotti’s side were appreciated by Reds fans.
This dwindled slightly once Napoli turned this impressive play into goals and Liverpool fans became frustrated with their own team’s sloppiness. Despite being full the stadium was fairly quiet.
Insigne was a constant threat down the left, lurking wide on the touchline in the space left by the advanced Alexander-Arnold.
Goalkeeper Alex Meret got in on the act, making an impressive save from Harry Wilson late in the game, with both the shot and the save greeted with a ripple of applause.Returning stars will provide a boost
The trio will add quality to the squad, and provide a positive boost to the team on the back of this loss.
But Sadio Mane, whose season only finished on July 19th due to Senegal reaching the Africa Cup of Nations final, will not be back with the squad until August 5th — one day after Liverpool meet City in the Community Shield.
The extended break for these star players has not made for an ideal pre-season, and this disappointing defeat will only add to the worry that Liverpool might struggle without them, or if they become fatigued during the season.
Jürgen Klopp vowed Liverpool will be a 'different animal' next week to the side that were beaten 3-0 by Napoli in Edinburgh on Sunday.
The Reds suffered defeat in their penultimate fixture of the 2019-20 pre-season after goals from Lorenzo Insigne, Arkadiusz Milik and Amin Younes at Murrayfield.
But with a training camp in Evian to follow and players returning to the fold, Klopp is looking forward to seeing his team in action when the FA Community Shield against Manchester City arrives on August 4.
Read on for a summary of the boss' post-match press conference in the Scottish capital.
On the tough afternoon for his side...
Two very different aspects of the game - one is a much more positive thing, it's the atmosphere and the reception when we came in. I asked today when we drove in - because it was outstanding how the people were waiting for us and how the atmosphere was there when we drove in with the bus - when we were last in Scotland and nobody could really tell me when it was - 2012. I had goose bumps when I left the bus, that was incredible. That was the positive part and then the lesser positive part obviously was the game.
The start was good, and that's it. The start was good and the ending was good because the young boys came in and brought some freshness and they were cheeky and all that stuff. That looked nice. We just conceded two simple goals, each ball we lost was pretty much a proper counter-attack. Napoli are good in that, but you have to defend that obviously better or you have to keep the ball or you have to have a better formation. Pretty much you need to have everything better than we had in these situations and they had more chances. We had a couple of chances as well, the first one especially.
The fight with the physical status with us, what can I say? I know everything what I say when you lose a game, everything what you say to explain, people think it's an excuse. But the last thing I want to look for is an excuse because we don't need it. But in fact, Napoli start in the same moment as we started with the pre-season but their season starts on the 24th of August, like three weeks later than ours. It means they train nice and smoothly. They train a little bit because they can train over the whole period. We have four weeks and need to be spot on. We have to train - I cannot change it. That's how football looks sometimes that we have rather heavy legs after a couple of weeks. We have another week which we will use to get freshness back, 100 per cent. But apart from that, if you are tired, we of course have to make better decisions than we made today in protection, we need a better formation than we had today. So, that's it. It was, of course, not good and we lost a couple of games now in the pre-season already. We try to use them, that's how we always try to do it, and I'm pretty sure we will play better football.
On the impact the missing players had on preparations...
[It's a] strange pre-season because everybody tells you constantly congratulations, congratulations, congratulations. We are all friendly people, so we all think, 'Welcome, welcome'. Before the game, Napoli - very nice, absolute class - the staff [gave us] a bottle of red wine and that finished with the game. It's kind of a new situation, but that's not the reason what's happened. Missing six players is strange. That you lose players during a pre-season, we are used to - that happened from time to time. But that they don't start from the beginning and come a couple of days before or after we start with the season is not cool. Again, that's how it is and we prepared everybody as good as possible. We have to fight the start of the season 100 per cent with all we have. The good thing is, if the opponents want to analyse us now, they think 'easy job', but we will be a different animal next week.
On what Harvey Elliott will bring to Liverpool...
That's why he's here. Look, I could say so many positive things about the boy because we signed him. He came here, he decided for us, he could have gone pretty much everywhere but he wanted to be part of Liverpool. But the stories about this boy start too early and he had already the story [when] he was the youngest Premier League first-team player of Fulham, all that stuff. He already has a few records because of his talent. Now he's here, let's work with him. He needs game time and we will see where he gets that, but he's obviously a fine, fine footballer and that's the reason why we were really interested.
On whether there were differences in readiness between Liverpool and Napoli…
They are not Serie A ready, they are just a good team. They miss a few players as well. It's just a different thing. We now have round about, for the majority of the team, three weeks to prepare for a full season. There's no alternative to training. So you have to do a couple of things which make you tired, that's how training works. They [Napoli] have six or seven weeks' pre-season. It's a completely different situation. They had to fight as well. The intense sessions are the games, we have to train intense and play intense. That's the difference. We played Napoli a couple of months ago and that was difficult as well; at Napoli we played similarly bad to today in the middle of the season and we took the right information out of that game, it helped.
On whether the Premier League could be a 'two-horse race'...
Of course not. It became a two-horse race last year but unfortunately there are too many good clubs in this competition. I think even City see it like this; they are the big favourite and all the others try to beat them - and we are one of these teams. At least we should give it a try, but we have to play better football and we will play better football, I know.
On if he has any concerns about pre-season form...
I think the worst thing that could have happened is if we had won all the games without the six players; 4-0 or 5-0 against Napoli and Sevilla, then everybody would be flying from last year and into the new season, then getting the problems in the season. That would have been the worst thing. But between the worst thing and that now would have been a few levels I would have preferred. I knew before we started that it would be exceptionally difficult because of the situation. We have to adapt to a few things and we have to create a specific spirit. For this we have a week's time. For the first time since the Champions League final we have 99 per cent of the squad tomorrow, only Sadio is missing then, and that's the moment where we really start talking and preparing a couple of things and then we have to go again.
Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri are back in training and will be part of the Liverpool squad for the training camp in Evian.
Jürgen Klopp will be bolstered by the returns of Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah from their breaks on Monday as the next stage of pre-season begins.
Keita and Shaqiri are set to join their teammates, too, with a view to featuring in Wednesday's friendly with Lyon in Geneva.
"Shaqiri and Keita as well, they already trained one session with us," Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com after Sunday's meeting with Napoli in Edinburgh.
"They are not here but they will come tomorrow because they train today. They will come tomorrow and should hopefully be a step further.
"Hopefully they can play a couple of minutes on Wednesday; five of six [aside from Sadio Mane] back, which is a good number."
Watch Liverpool's friendly against Lyon live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO on Wednesday night.
Visit liverpoolfc.com/watch for more information and to see the live rights in your country.
Liverpool were beaten 3-0 by Napoli in their penultimate pre-season friendly of the summer at Murrayfield on Sunday.
Lorenzo Insigne, Arkadiusz Milik and Amin Younes scored the goals for the Serie A side in front of a sell-out 65,442 crowd in Edinburgh.
There were, at least, more minutes in the bank as Jürgen Klopp used 21 players over the course of the contest, a week before the campaign begins with a trip to Wembley for the Community Shield.
Liverpool – and Andy Robertson, on home soil – created the first chance of the half.
It was the Scotland captain’s fourth-minute delivery from the left that found Divock Origi, unmarked but with his back to goal, and the No.27 flicked the ball along its path only wide of the far post.
From there, Napoli seized control and Carlo Ancelotti’s side soon served a double warning of their potency.
Simone Verdi forced Simon Mignolet to carefully collect his curler from the left edge of the box out of the air, and the Reds goalkeeper then had to get across his line and push away Insigne’s low free-kick effort.
The forward was not to be denied for long, however.
Released into space down the left-hand side, Insigne intelligently slipped into a shooting position 20 yards out and dispatched a clinical curler around the gloves of Mignolet and inside the right post.
Buoyed by their ascendancy, and with the goalscorer a dangerous figure, Napoli continued to enjoy the better of proceedings and doubled their lead before the half-hour.
Insigne turned creator this time, exploiting an opportunity on the left flank to square for Milik, who stretched to turn a finish beyond Mignolet into the same corner of the net.
Liverpool thought they had halved the deficit on the stroke of half-time – Georginio Wijnaldum walloping a finish home after sweet build-up by Origi and Jordan Henderson – but the midfielder doing so from an offside position.
Klopp’s men started the second half with a showing of greater intent and Fabinho would have troubled the goalkeeper more had his low drive not been straight down the middle.
And yet it was Napoli who struck again with 52 minutes on the clock.
Insigne was involved once more, surging into the box and drawing a stop from Mignolet that bounced off one of his own defenders and presented Younes with a tap-in.
The game petered out as the minutes elapsed, with substitute Harry Wilson sending a free-kick over the bar and Alex Meret preventing an Elseid Hysaj own goal from close range.
The manager made 10 changes during the second half, including a maiden appearance for 16-year-old Harvey Elliott following the announcement of his signing earlier in the day.
Meret was at full stretch to thwart Wilson late on, but the Reds supporters inside Murrayfield were unable to cheer a goal for their side, who will now move on to Evian for the final stage of their pre-season preparations.
Liverpool name an unchanged team for today’s friendly with Napoli in Edinburgh.
Jürgen Klopp has selected the same starting XI that began the midweek 2-2 draw against Sporting CP in New York for the 5pm BST kick-off at Murrayfield.
New signing Harvey Elliott is among the substitutes and will wear No.67.
Ryan Kent misses out due to illness after being included in the initial matchday squad.
Liverpool XI: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Milner, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Origi.
Substitutes: Lonergan, Lovren, Gomez, Lallana, Brewster, Lewis, Hoever, Duncan, Wilson, Elliott, Van den Berg.
Liverpool U23s played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Anderlecht U21s in Belgium on Sunday.
Ovie Ejaria, Tom Clayton and Elijah Dixon-Bonner were all on the scoresheet for Neil Critchley's team.
The home side, managed by former Reds star Craig Bellamy, took the lead from the penalty spot but Ejaria soon pounced to level the affair.
Anderlecht regained the lead before Clayton made it 2-2 following a header from a free-kick.
Dixon-Bonner put the Reds 3-2 up with a superb strike but the home side earned a share of the spoils with a late equaliser following a set-piece.
Reflecting on the draw, Critchley told Liverpoolfc.com: “It was a really good performance with lots of positives to take.
“The only disappointment was poor defending from a set-piece with their last-minute equaliser.
“The boys have got to learn quickly that they have to keep their concentration levels right until the end and defend better from set-pieces as our performance merited the victory.”
Liverpool U23s: George, N. Williams, Gallacher, Johnston, Boyes (Clayton, 70), Chirivella, Kane (Varesanovic, 80), Ejaria (Dixon-Bonner, 65), Millar, Christie-Davies, Bearne.