There is starkly contrasting news concerning two of Liverpool's new signings ahead of Saturday's friendly against AC Milan in Santa Clara, California. On the positive front, the match is set to see Georginio Wijnaldum make his first first appearance in a Liverpool shirt, however fellow new signing Loris Karius has already traveled back to England and now faces two months on the sidelines after breaking a bone in his hand.
The new arrival from Mainz suffered the injury in Liverpool's opening game of the International Champions Cup in the United States on Wednesday, when his team went down 1-0 to Chelsea in Pasadena. It represents a significant blow, with the German widely tipped to take the No. 1 spot from Simon Mignolet for the start of the season.
“It’s not too cool, of course,” Klopp said ahead of the meeting with the Italian giants at Levi's Stadium. “You never want to have an injured player and the problem with injuries is that they’re always at the wrong time – there is never good timing with injuries. It’s not cool for the boy, it’s not cool for us, but it can’t be changed so we have to take it.
“We have another three goalkeepers and everybody knows about the quality of Simon Mignolet, so [that's] all good and he’s made a really good impression in the first few days since he’s been back in training.
“We have the very experienced Alex Manninger and the very young Shamal George. That’s now the situation. It could have been worse – everybody knows a broken bone in the hand for a goalkeeper is not the best thing to have.”
It is not all doom and gloom. Saturday's encounter should see the first sighting in a Red's shirt of Wijnaldum, signed for 25 million pounds ($33 million) from Newcastle United earlier this month. And Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is excited about what both Wijnaldum and fellow new signing Sadio Mane can bring to the Merseysiders' attack this season.
“They come here and bring things we may not have had,” he told Liverpool's official website. “Mane has got a lot of speed on the wings; we did have that before but he’s a different kind of player. He has got goals in him as well. And the same with Wijnaldum – he is someone who can provide chances for players and score goals.”
It is not all that long ago that Liverpool and Milan were squaring off in Champions League finals. Liverpool memorably came out on top in 2005, after coming back from 3-0 down at halftime to win in a penalty shootout, before Milan got a measure of revenge with victory two years later. Both teams, though, go into this season simply looking to get back into European competition.
Milan is now entering its third straight season without any continental action, and also goes into the campaign with a new coach for a third successive season. The latest man at the helm, Vincenzo Montella has had a good start so far in preseason.
After beating Bordeaux 2-1, Milan tied 3-3 with Bayern Munich before triumphing on a penalty shootout to garner two points from its first game in the International Champions Cup. Montella, though, who played in a 1-0 win over Liverpool in a short loan spell at Fulham in 2007, is eager for his new side to take one step at a time.
“We play to win, we want to win them all,” he said. “With Liverpool it will be important to stay concentrated and play like we did against Bayern, also because they started training before us. It is an important test and we want to prove our potential.
“We must put in a lot of effort and commitment. We need other qualities as well but this is a good start. We want to amaze people. Enthusiasm is important but we most not exaggerate. We can think big but at the same time we must keep our feet on the ground. The goal is to qualify for the European Cups.”
Kickoff Time: 10.05 p.m. EDT
TV Channel: ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Live Stream: Watch ESPN