Preston vs. Liverpool: How the Reds Will Line Up for 2nd Preseason Friendly
After a late 1-2 defeat to Brondby on Wednesday, Liverpool travel to Deepdale to take on Preston North End this Saturday in their second preseason friendly before the Reds embark on their summer tour of the United States.
With Liverpool’s World Cup stars and new signings set to take part in their summer tour, Saturday’s fixture provides manager Brendan Rodgers to again give some valuable first-team experience to some fringe and youth players, after a healthy run-out in Denmark earlier this week.
Here’s how we think the Reds will line up for their second preseason friendly.
Goalkeeper: Brad Jones
With Pepe Reina back at Anfield, Brad Jones will likely start the campaign as third-choice goalkeeper. It will be a tall order to surpass both Reina and Simon Mignolet in the pecking order, and Jones will want to impress in a rare first-team outing.
Right-Back: Andre Wisdom
Andre Wisdom, who spent last season on loan at Derby County in the Championship, came on as a half-time substitute for Martin Kelly against Brondby on Wednesday.
Saturday will give him the opportunity to start at right-back, reprising his role when he first broke into Rodgers’ first team in the beginning of the 2012/13 Premier League campaign.
Left-Back: Brad Smith
At left-back, Brad Smith makes a second successive start in the Reds’ preseason calendar, as he looks to fight his way into Rodgers’ thoughts ahead of the 2014/15 campaign.
With a left-back high on Rodgers’ priority list, though, Smith may be spending this season out on loan to further his development. His debut away at Chelsea last season will likely have been his last senior appearance for a while.
Center Back: Martin Kelly
Martin Kelly has fought off his recurring injury troubles and made a return to first-team training, with recuperation having taken up most of his recent development years.
He’s played as a right-back for most of his Liverpool career, but with Wisdom going from strength to strength in that position, Saturday offers Kelly an opportunity to move back into the center, where he played during his academy days.
Center Back: Daniel Agger
Leading the Reds out at Deepdale on Saturday will be vice-captain Daniel Agger, whose emotional return to Brondby this week was met with a rapturous reception.
Agger will have been buoyed by Rodgers’ public praise in the aftermath of Wednesday’s friendly, and will be looking to reclaim his first-team place from Mamadou Sakho during preseason.
Holding Midfielder: Conor Coady
After impressing on loan with Sheffield United last season, in all likelihood Conor Coady’s future lies away from Anfield, especially with the intense competition ahead of him for Liverpool’s midfield places.
Despite being named for the club’s American tour, Coady may be starting his last-ever game for his boyhood club on Saturday as Preston presents an opportunity for him to put himself in the shop window.
Central Midfielder: Jordan Rossiter
Jordan Rossiter will have been disappointed with a less-than-convincing showing on Wednesday, but having been left out of Rodgers’ squad for the United States, he will want to put on a good display at Preston.
As one of the club’s many bright young talents, his progress will be closely monitored by Rodgers and his coaching team.
Attacking Midfielder: Suso
Philippe Coutinho’s dazzling performance caught the eye and excited Liverpool fans against Brondby, but on Saturday it will be Suso who gets the chance to impress in a No. 10 role.
Suso’s partnership with Coutinho and Joao Teixeira on Wednesday was encouraging enough. Now Rodgers will be keen to see how he gets on in the all-important central playmaking position after spending last season out on loan with Almeria.
Right Forward: Jordon Ibe
Kristoffer Peterson owed his first senior Liverpool goal to Jordon Ibe, whose driving run and assist was hardly his only contribution after coming on as a second-half substitute in Denmark.
Having firmly set his sights on a first-team place at Anfield this season, Ibe will no doubt be working on his finishing in training and looking to impress once again ahead of a challenging American tour.
Left Forward: Adam Phillips
Having made his senior debut for the Reds on Wednesday, young winger Adam Phillips will have been delighted to be named in Liverpool’s squad for their summer U.S. tour.
Rodgers may even be tempted to grant him a first start against Preston. What’s there to lose?
Striker: Fabio Borini
With Daniel Sturridge and Rickie Lambert due to join the Liverpool squad after Saturday, Fabio Borini has to make the most of the Preston fixture to prove he still has a future at Anfield.
He has already been linked with a permanent return to Sunderland, where he spent a successful last season on loan, per Simon Jones of the Daily Mail. He may well move back to the Stadium of Light if he doesn’t impress over preseason.