With Liverpool’s pre-season fixture list about to get underway, we pick out five players who will be eager to impress boss Jurgen Klopp and convince him they deserve more first-team opportunities this season…
Divock Origi earned cult-hero status at Liverpool last season, after coming up with a string of super-sub performances and crucial goals. From his last-gasp Merseyside derby winner to his two-goal heroics against Barcelona and capping it all off with a strike in the Champions League final, Origi was front and centre at the key moments in Liverpool’s season.
But can he become a consistent first-team performer for Klopp? His contributions from the bench last season have marked him out as an impact player, but the 24-year-old will have greater ambitions than that, and will target a regular role leading the line at Anfield.
His new long-term contract shows Klopp is backing him to become just that and it is now Origi’s challenge to prove he can contribute to Liverpool’s style and bring the best out of his attacking team-mates week-in, week-out.
Rhian Brewster is yet to make a first-team appearance in professional football but there’s excitement brewing over what the 19-year-old could achieve at Liverpool in 2019/20. “We planned an important role for him,” Jurgen Klopp said ahead of pre-season.
The Liverpool manager has described Brewster as a “really big talent”, and the striker, who was named on the bench for the Champions League final, appears set to be handed his chance over the coming months.
Top scorer during England U17s’ World Cup win a couple of years ago, Brewster has shown he has an eye for goal at youth level. Now he needs to show he can step up, with Liverpool’s run of pre-season friendlies likely to be a great opportunity for him to convince Klopp his faith in him is deserved.
Adam Lallana insisted after the Champions League final – where he was an unused substitute – that there was “absolutely no question” he was staying at Liverpool and that he’d been reassured by management he had a “big part to play” for the club in 2019/20.
However, to make that reality, the 31-year-old will have to get a strong pre-season under his belt and prove to boss Jurgen Klopp that, after consecutive injury-hit seasons which limited him to just 16 appearances for club and country in each of the past two campaigns, he is fit and able to make a major contribution.
Lallana – whose last Premier League goal involvements came in the 2016/17 season, when he scored eight times and recorded seven assists – appears to have Klopp’s backing, but faces stiff competition for a starting spot, given Liverpool’s other creative options.
“[The plan is to] work hard. Now I am back here, it is up to me to try to impress the manager and get into the team.” Harry Wilson is determined to force his way into Klopp’s Liverpool plans after a standout season on loan at Derby in 2018/19.
The Wales international scored 18 goals across all competitions under Frank Lampard – including a stunning long-range free-kick against Manchester United – and will have opportunities during the run of friendlies to make his mark with the Reds.
Wilson signed a five-year contract with Liverpool at the start of last season but at 22-years-old, he will know that if he is to prove he can become a first-team player, the time is now.
It is over two-and-a-half years since Ben Woodburn burst onto the scene by becoming Liverpool’s youngest-ever goalscorer in a League Cup win over Leeds. Now at 19, Wales international Woodburn has an important season ahead of him.
The young forward struggled for game time in 2018/19, failing to make an impact during a loan spell at Sheffield United and returning to Liverpool early after suffering an ankle injury.