5 things we spotted as Liverpool play inter-squad training match at Anfield


On June 1, 2019, Liverpool were winning the Champions League in front of thousands of their supporters in Madrid.

On June 1, 2020, they were playing a training match against each other at an empty Anfield.

Yep, these are strange, strange times, but with the Premier League scheduled to come back in just over two weeks’ time, Jurgen Klopp decided to put his soon-to-be league champions through their paces at their home ground, thereby perhaps preparing them for playing meaningful matches there with no fans in the near future.

The teams for the match were as follows:

In the red home kit were: Alisson, Ki-Jana Hoever, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson, Curtis Jones, Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita, Harvey Elliott, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Sub was Neco Williams.

It was Liverpool vs Liverpool at Anfield

And in the black away kit were: Adrian, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez, Yasser Larouci, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, James Milner, Mohamed Salah, Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi. Caoimhin Kelleher and Sepp van den Berg were subs.

You can get more information on how the game went here, and find out about the powerful anti-racism message the Reds’ squad sent before the session here.

Jurgen Klopp kept a close eye on his players

As for here? Well here are some nice pictures.

1. Careful now

Origi and Matip weren’t holding anything back

Playing against a team full of your actual teammates might suggest that this would be the friendliest of friendlies, but no-one seemed to tell Divock Origi or Joel Matip that.

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The pair were pictured going at each other hell for leather in an aerial challenge that might have made Klopp wince a little.

Careful lads.

2. New partnerships, and old ones broken up

Alexander-Arnold and Robertson went head-to-head

One thing that is noticeable from the XIs listed above is that Klopp opted to break up some of Liverpool’s traditional partnerships in order to balance the sides.

That created new unions all over the pitch, and saw old ones pitted against each other in the kind of public environment that we never get to see.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson never usually get to share a flank, for instance, but here they were seemingly enjoying the competition.

3. The battle for places

Takumi Minamino and Curtis Jones are in competition for a place in the team

Again, these players come up against each other in training all the time, but it was interesting to see them in a ‘match’ setting against players they are effectively taking on for a spot in the team.

The likes of Takumi Minamino and Curtis Jones will both be looking to get game-time in the final few weeks of the season, particularly if Liverpool wrap up the title fairly quickly, and they were both putting in the hard yards in a bid to impress Klopp.

4. This means more?

Mane scored in front of the empty Anfield Road End

Only training? Try telling that to Sadio Mane.

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Clearly an Anfield goal is an Anfield goal to the Senegalese, who wheeled away as if he’d scored on a Premier League matchday when he rounded Adrian to score at the Anfield Road End end.

Another one for the tally?

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5. Practice makes perfect

Naby Keita was congratulated by Curtis Jones when he scored

Of course the return of the Premier League is all about putting safety first, even when it comes to goal celebrations.

Social distancing is set to be with us for some time yet, and after Naby Keita scored at the Kop end he was greeted by Jones in a manner that we might all have to get used to in the coming weeks and months.

But then when Liverpool are playing Liverpool at an empty Anfield in early June then you just sort of go with the flow on these things now don’t you?

Welcome to the new normal.





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