Some good thoughts there, some of which I agree with and some of which I don't.This match was a good summary for the entire pre season. This is what I saw:
- Youngsters - Hoever, Brewster, Elliot, VdB, Lewis, Duncan, Larouci. They all had a nice run in, but none of them actually made an honest claim to be part of the senior team on a regular basis. With perhaps the exception of Brewster, I will be surprised if any of them will be part of a match squad ( barring injuries ). Gomez, Fabinho, Milner will continue to provide cover for LB and RB positions this season.
- Wilson & Kent - While Kent is supposedly sick and missed this match, like Wilson I don't see either of them making a big enough impression on Klopp to keep them. If Someone would offer Klopp 25M for Wilson, he will drive him there himself. Kent probably will go for even less. I don't think either of them has a future under Klopp. This is not to say they are not good players, and might go on to be great players, I just don't think Klopp see them fitting in to his plan.
- Lallana - Perhaps the most interesting thing in pre season was his shift to the #6 role. I doubt it was a makeshift change, but something Klopp is seriously thinking about. I got to say, he really impressed. While I doubt he has now taken over Fabinho's spot, I think Klopp will use him there more than people think. I would even say thta he migh tbe used rather against better oppositions rather than those we expect to have 70% of possession. The reason is, the more possession we have, the more our FB's are taking positions up field and we are playing with the DM in front of 2 CB's which means the positional awareness to sniff out fast counter attacks is more important. However, when p[laying in a crowded midfield, getting yourself free and making a smart pass is more important, which is where Lallana can be effective.
- Attack - Origi, Brewster, Shaq and Gini all had a go, and it didn't look good. Salah and Bobby came back, and everything looks different. Basically, our plan B is nowhere near good enough.
- Keta, Ox - Klopp banked on both of them to be " new signings" for this season. He still hasn't figured out how exactly to balance the midfield.
- CB's - While VVD is an automatic, i am not sure who Klopp will pick out of Matip, Gomez and Lovren to start the season along side him. Matip was excellent last season, Gomez is the future, and Lovren has proved he is a fine CB and had a good pre season as well.
1. I disagree that none of the players you listed made a claim to be a part of the first team.
- Hoever in particular featured in every preseason game and was consistently a stand out performer and should be our backup RB this season.
- Brewster looked good until later in preseason when heavy training caught up with him, but he showed enough to show why he's being given an opportunity.
- Elliott looked like he fit seamlessly into the team today, looking like the most dangerous attacker in a lineup full of first team players; and on that basis I would expect him to be involved with the first team this season, albeit with limited game time other than the cups.
That said, I do agree with your assessment of the others. Van den Berg, Duncan, and Lewis all still look quite raw and are still at least a year away from the first team. I haven't been particularly impressed overall by Larouci, but he may get a start if we play lower league opposition in the cups given our lack of natural LB's behind Robertson.
2. I completely agree with you here. It's pretty clear from what Klopp said in a recent press conference that Kent will be sold rather than loaned. Wilson will also likely be sold, for reasons that I discussed in more detail here:
3. I enjoyed Lallana's performance today, but I'd be surprised if we see Lallana in the No.6 role again this season, at least against anything above lower league opposition in cups. Our defensive system relies heavily on having someone who cuts out counter-attacks, but with Lallana as the No.6 today we were clearly very susceptible to that, particularly in the early stages of the game. I think his deployment as a No.6 this preseason has simply been a way for Klopp to manage Lallana's fitness by putting him in a role on the pitch that hasn't put as much physical strain on his body.Thanks for sharing that.
I notice that at the 4:10min mark Klopp got asked about what will happen to Wilson, and although he didn't provide a straightforward answer, I think the manner in which he responded is extremely telling:
"We have to do what's right for the club, and for the boy, so that's how it is..... There's nothing to talk in public about it, so we will see what will happen in the next 8-9 days until the window closes. But he's obviously a really good player".
He then talked a bit more about how he has liked Wilson in preseason, but the general tone was rather defensive, as if he was trying to justify why he doesn't think Wilson is good enough for the team.
The fact that he says things like "[doing] what's right for the club", "there's nothing to talk about in public", and "we will see what happens in the next 8-9 days" makes it obvious that the club are looking to sell him before the window closes.
I think the writing has been on the wall already the last 1-2 years as Wilson has kept getting loaned out rather than staying to develop with the first team as Klopp usually tends to do with players that are promoted into the first team. The signing of Harvey Elliott in the exact same position as Wilson also pointed to Wilson being moved out.
As for why Klopp doesn't fancy Wilson, I think it has to do with a few features of Wilson's game, both on and off the ball.
In attack, Wilson seems to be more of an individual flair player, drifting in and out of games whenever the ball happens to be near him, rather than sticking to structured attacking patterns of play.
Granted, he can come up with moments of brilliance, but those often mask the fact that he often struggles to link up with teammates and is often relatively quiet in games apart from those moments.
Today's game was a perfect example of that, where very little play seemed to be channeled through his side on the left, and when it did very little came of it. But then he popped up with a fantastic goal and people forget that he's been relatively uninvolved until then.
Off the ball Wilson isn't a very tenacious presser, and so combined with the aforementioned features of his game, it makes sense why Klopp wouldn't fancy him, despite his obvious knack for scoring screamers from outside the box.
That all said, if and when Wilson does get sold this coming week, I'm sure we'll hear a brigade of people moaning about how we're even shorter in attacking options than we were before, even though Wilson wasn't even here last season and thereby doesn't constitute a detraction from our 18/19 squad.
On that note I'd also point to the fact that Elliott didn't seem out of place at all today in his 30 mins with the First XI, and I wouldn't be surprised if he sees some minutes this season. Compared to Wilson I thought he did a much better job of linking up with teammates and being involved constantly, along with creating chances in attack. I also found it particularly interesting to see him get a few minutes on the left as well, suggesting that he could be an option there too.
As such I think it's likely that this will be the attack we go into the season with (assuming of course that the club get an acceptable offer for Wilson):
Mané ---- Firmino ----- Salah
Elliott ----- Origi ------- Shaqiri
----------- Brewster ------------
4. I agree that Origi and Brewster were quite underwhelming today, but Shaqiri had a tidy outing. Based on today's game I also think Elliott could have an impact this season; he looked very inventive and direct in attack, and didn't at all look out of place with the first team.
5. I wouldn't be too concerned about tactics and the midfield being balanced when we're obviously prioritising fitness levels over anything else. For one, as I said above we'll probably not see Lallana as the No.6 again, and based on last season it's also unlikely that we see Shaqiri play as a No.8 in a 433 either (most of his appearances last season involved a shift to a 4231 formation).
6. I agree. We're blessed with having a very strong group of CB's, and beyond Van Dijk I think the 2nd CB spot will simply be a matter of whoever is fit and in best form at any given time.