Following an exciting second-half showing to blow AC Milan away in Santa Clara, Liverpool will seek to provide further signs of the pulsating Jurgen Klopp style coming to fruition when it completes its U.S. tour against Roma in St. Louis on Monday. After a meek 1-0 loss to Chelsea in northern California on Saturday night, Liverpool discovered the sort of cutting edge it will be looking to reproduce when the Premier League season kicks off against Arsenal in two weeks' time.
The buildup to the game against Milan at the home of the San Francisco 49ers had been dominated by news of an injury that will rule new goalkeeper Loris Karius out for at least two months. But the match itself offered a more positive picture of the attacking depth Liverpool has thus far gained through its summer recruitment.
There were spots in the starting lineup for new signings Sadio Mane and, for the first time in a Liverpool shirt, Georginio Wijnaldum. The first half saw plenty of control but a lack of ruthlessness, before the arrivals off the bench after the break made the difference.
Replacing Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi picked up where he left off before an injury in April ruled him out of much of the end of last season, scoring a fine opener. Roberto Firmino capped a fine cameo, too, by netting the second goal in a 2-0 win to provide sign that he could really kick on in his second season on Merseyside.
“All these players, if they stay fit and without injuries, can play a very good season,” Klopp said afterward. “Everybody knows about the potential of Divock Origi. I understand that you ask about single players after a game like this. But especially tonight, it’s not a night for talking about single players. If you want to talk, it’s the way we played and the style of play and the dominance we had and the passing situations we had.”
Unsurprisingly given the quick turnaround, Klopp made clear that he will rotate his lineup for Monday's clash against Roma before Liverpool head home to England and take on Barcelona at Wembley on Saturday. The match at St. Louis' 47,000-capacity Busch Stadium could see a first appearance in a Liverpool shirt for veteran Alex Manninger, who is set to back up Simon Mignolet for the opening weeks of the season.
The position where the options are scare for Klopp is at center-back. Having allowed Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure to depart Anfield this summer, he has seen Mamadou Sakho, Joe Gomez and new signing Joel Matip pick up injuries that continue to keep them on the sidelines.
“Monday is the next game,” Klopp added. “We have a little bit of a problem at centre-half, they always have to play and we have to see how we can find a solution for this game. All the rest, we can have different options. Tonight Danny Ings didn’t play and I’ve already told him it will come, no problem, the next game he will be involved. They will all have their match time and that’s good.”
The match with Roma is not a part of the International Champions Cup exhibition event Liverpool has been a part of, with the Italian side coming over to North America to take on the Reds and then, on Wednesday, Montreal Impact. And Roma could be some way short of Liverpool's sharpness, having played just two preseason friendlies so far, a 16-0 stroll over lower-level Italian outfit Pinzolo Campiglio and a 3-0 win over Russian side Terek Grozny last Sunday.
Despite those results, it has already been a troubled preseason for Roma. First Luciano Spalletti's squad lost star playmaker Miralem Pjanic to rivals Juventus, before newly arrived Portuguese defender Mario Rui suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury during the club's week of training in Boston.
There is some good news for a side that finished third in Serie A season, though, with midfielder Kevin Strootman, who has been blighted by knee injuries in recent seasons, taking part in his first preseason in three years.
“Maybe for other players it is different, but for me I am grateful, because after missing it for three seasons for me it is really important to get ready for the competition,” Strootman said in an interview with Sirius XM FC.
“Especially for us [this season], because in three weeks we have what I think are the most important games of the year, which are the qualification games for the Champions League. So the games we play, against Liverpool and Montreal, are so important for us because we show how we can play. They are strong opponents.”
Liverpool Squad for Roma Match (Probable)
Goalkeepers: Simon Mignolet, Alex Manninger, Shamal George
Defenders: Nathaniel Clyne, Ragnar Klavan, Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno, Andre Wisdom
Midfielders: James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, Adam Lallana, Geroginio Wijnaldum, Philippe Coutinho, Trent Arnold, Cameron Brannagan, Connor Randall, Kevin Stewart
Forwards: Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Danny Ings, Lazar Markovic, Sheji Ono
Goalkeepers: Allison, Bogdan Lobont, Lorenzo Crisanto, Andrea Romagnoli
Defenders: Kosta Manolas, Juan Jesus, Emerson, Vasilis Torosidis, Norbet Gyomber, Riccardo Marchizza, Moustapha Seck
Midfielders: Daniele de Rossi, Radja Nainggolan, Alessandro Florenzi, Kevin Strootman, Leandro Paredes, Gerson, William Vaniquer, Lorenzo di Livio, Christian D'Urso
Forwards: Edin Dzeko, Stephan El Shaarawy, Francesco Totti, Mohamed Salah, Juan Iturbe, Diego Perotti, Edoardo Soleri, Federico Ricci
Kickoff Time: 8.35 p.m. EDT
TV Channel: LFCTV (Available in the UK and the Republic of Ireland)
Live Stream: LFCTV Go