August 7, 2013
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Liverpool have started the preseason with a bang, winning their five games by a combined score of 13-0. The Reds haven't exactly faced formidable competition, but in a summer with plenty of distractions—cough, cough, Luis Suarez, cough—the summer friendlies have been very positive.
The team now heads to Norway to take on Valerenga, a club that should offer solid competition, especially since Valerenga is currently in midseason and should be fit and fresh for this game.
On the other hand, the team is currently seventh on the Tippeligaen table, so the Reds should handle their business.
Let's break down this friendly for the Anfield side.
When: Wednesday, August 7 at 1 p.m. ET (6 p.m. BST)
Where: Ullevaal Stadium, Oslo, Norway
Watch: BT Sport 1 (UK)
Streaming: LFC TV
What They're Saying
Tired of all the Suarez talk? So is John Brewin of ESPN—and pretty much every other human being on the planet. He feels Liverpool may actually be better off selling the controversial Uruguayan:
Liverpool subsequently played some of their best football of the season in the four games that Suarez was suspended. Rodgers was able to put in place what he had perhaps had in mind all along, and one that the individualistic Suarez, for all his qualities, does not actually fit into.
Philippe Coutinho, granted a playmaker's role in the absence of Suarez, glittered as Liverpool destroyed Newcastle 6-0, and was a rare bright spot in a dull Merseyside derby too... Iago Aspas, of all the new arrivals, looks best suited to being a first-choice selection in a position not dissimilar to Suarez's.
Get Daniel Sturridge fit soon, and Liverpool—as they must anyway in the first six matches when Suarez is suspended—can field a forward line of quality and variety. Another striker, with Atletico's Diego Costa bid for last week, may yet arrive too.
As Brewin notes in his article, selling Suarez to a league rival like Arsenal isn't appealing in the least. But losing Suarez also wouldn't be the end of the world.
Far from it, in fact.
What to Watch For
Obviously, study Suarez's body language carefully. Is he sulky? Is there a surprise pep in his step? Is he acting like he wants to stay?
Outside of Suarez's mood, keep an eye on how the new players are adjusting. As Brewin pointed out, Aspas is probably going to be the centre-forward in Suarez's wake and has seemed to adjust well to Liverpool's style.
Kolo Toure is a Premier League veteran, so his adjustment should be smooth, while Simon Mignolet will be expected to be a top keeper this season.
Youngster Luis Alberto is fighting for his place at the club on the wing, so monitor his progress closely. Obviously, you won't be able to take your eyes off Coutinho, as he figures to be a key player—if not the key player—for the Reds this season.
With the additions to the attack—and the possibility of Diego Costa joining the club, albeit unlikely, according to AS (via Fox Sports)—players like Raheem Sterling and Fabio Borini have to prove their worth in the preseason friendlies.
But seriously, pay attention to Suarez's demeanor.
And by seriously, I mean just ignore him. He's already mentally checked out from Liverpool. He may have to physically stay, but he's not going to pretend he's happy about it.
Valerenga lost 7-0 to Barcelona in late July, while Liverpool has been quite good this preseason. That doesn't bode well for Valerenga.
Liverpool wins, 3-0.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!