Roma v Liverpool: What Brendan Rodgers Learned from Pre-Season Match

Matt Ladson@mattladsonFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2014

Roma v Liverpool: What Brendan Rodgers Learned from Pre-Season Match

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    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    Liverpool kicked off their tour of the U.S. against AS Roma on Wednesday evening in Boston, suffering a late defeat with Daniel Agger's 90th-minute own goal.

    The match was The Reds' third pre-season friendly and the last one where Brendan Rodgers was without World Cup-involved players—they only returned to training on Monday and thus weren't scheduled to be involved in this match. Although, marathon-man Jordan Henderson was involved with a late cameo.

    The first glimpse of Adam Lallana in a Liverpool shirt will be on Sunday against Olympiakos in Chicago when he'll appear alongside captain Steven Gerrard and England's other World Cup players: Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge and Glen Johnson.

    Here's a few things Rodgers may have learned from the match.

Squad Depth Looking Better

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    Given the list of players not involved for Liverpool in this game (Gerrard, Lallana, Johnson, Henderson, Sterling, Simon Mignolet, Mamadou Sakho, Lazar Markovic and any other new signings that are yet to arrive) the majority of the players involved were ones who will provide the depth in Rodgers' squad this season.

    Last season, the Liverpool boss had players like Aly Cissokho, Victor Moses, Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas on the subs bench, this season already he will have a far stronger squad to work with.

    Indeed, of the 11 who started against Roma, only Philippe Coutinho is likely to start the opening Premier League game against Southampton.

Coutinho the Keymaster

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    The Brazilian midfielder was the most impressive performer for Liverpool, offering creativity where others lacked.

    After not being involved with his country at the World Cup, Brazil's loss could be Liverpool's gain, with Coutinho looking fresh and ready for the new season.

    After impressing in the midfield three on occasion last season, he'll be competing with new-signing Lallana to line up alongside Gerrard and Henderson.

Emre Can Ready?

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    German midfielder Emre Can replaced Fabio Borini after just 12 minutes, with Borini having suffered a shoulder injury in the early stages.

    Can, who had limped off early himself against Preston on Saturday, showed signs of why Liverpool have paid £10 million for his services, especially looking strong in the first 20 minutes of the second half.

    Powerful and strong, his bursts in midfield stood out alongside Lucas and Joe Allen. Perhaps Can will feature more this coming season than we may expect?

Set-Piece Vulnerability

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    So often their Achilles' heel last season, Liverpool were again undone by a set-piece late on.

    That could explain Rodgers' pursuit of Dejan Lovren, as per The Guardian, as the boss seeks to sign a defender who is not only solid in the air but also commanding and will organise the defence on set-pieces. Lovren needs to be the leader at the back.

    A commanding back-up goalkeeper may also be higher on Rodgers' shopping list now too.

It's All About Fitness

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    It's a cliched line and Rodgers will know it already, but pre-season really is all about fitness.

    Liverpool players have been doing double training sessions and are working towards achieving maximum fitness. They aren't getting fit for the next pre-season friendly, they are getting fit for December, January and beyond.

    Rodgers has an excellent track record of players being fit and fresh post-Christmas in his two seasons in charge at Anfield, and all this hard work now will pay off in the long run. Results aren't important.