It’s back! After a five-week pre-season, Liverpool return to Premier League action this Saturday lunchtime.
The Reds kickstarted their campaign with an impressive Community Shield victory against Man City last weekend, and will be hoping for a similar result at Craven Cottage.
Here’s everything you need to know before Liverpool’s first league clash of the season.
1. Here we go again!
That summer absolutely flew by, didn’t it?
The final match of the previous campaign was, of course, a disappointing one, with the Reds falling short to Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
But spirits were instantly lifted after another mind blowing parade through the city centre the following day.
There have been changes to the squad over the course of the summer, with the likes of Sadio Mane, Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino departing and Fabio Carvalho, Darwin Nunez and Calvin Ramsay joining the club.
Pre-season trips to Asia and Austria all went to plan and last weekend’s Community Shield victory proved the Reds are more than ready for the campaign ahead. We go again!
2. Is Alisson fit?
Having missed a large chunk of pre-season, Klopp has confirmed Alisson is now “fine” after recovering from an abdominal injury.
The Brazilian sustained the problem during Liverpool’s tour of Asia last month, and with Caoimhin Kelleher also sidelined, Adrian ended up playing more minutes than any other Liverpool player during pre-season.
Good to have you back, Ali!
3. 8, possibly 9 players unavailable
Klopp provided an extensive injury update during Friday’s pre-match press conference, with a number of Liverpool players still unavailable for selection.
Naby Keita missed last Sunday’s friendly against Strasbourg through illness but could yet be available for the trip to Craven Cottage, with Klopp expecting the Guinean to train on Friday.
The Liverpool boss also added that left-back Tsimikas could be back in training next week.
4. Predicted Reds lineup – Firmino or Nunez?
NEW: 2 Liverpool lineups vs. Fulham with Firmino or Nunez decision https://t.co/XvYkA8bsYy— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) August 5, 2022
Expect Alisson to go straight back into the team, with Adrian dropping to the bench. Konate’s injury should mean that Joel Matip continues alongside Virgil van Dijk in the heart of the Liverpool defence.
Don’t be surprised if the Brazilian gets the nod again, with Klopp reiterating on Friday that he’s in no rush to throw Nunez straight in at the deep end.
The reintroduction of the five substitutions rule means Klopp will be able to call upon more players to impact the game in the second half, with the likes of Nunez, Elliott, Keita and Fabio Carvalho all impressing off the bench against City.
5. What to expect from Fulham?
“I have to tell you, and I don’t want to speak for too much time about the situation, I want to be clear with you; now we have 16 senior players in our squad,” he told reporters.
“No one competes at this level with 16 senior players in your squad.”
Centre-back Shane Duffy arrived on loan from Brighton on Friday and could feature against the Reds, with Joao Palhinha, Andreas Pereira, Kevin Mbabu, Bernd Leno and Manor Solomon their other summer signings.
Ex-Liverpool winger Harry Wilson has been ruled out of the match through injury, while midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah is also absent.
6. “Massive talent”
In his pre-match press conference, Klopp was asked how Carvalho, who arrived from Fulham earlier this summer, has settled into life on Merseyside.
“Top player. I love it. Massive talent.
“Really good kid and really happy to have him, so very important for us because we count on this age group as well.
“We don’t wait now until they are 22, 23 or whatever and use them. No, no, no. He is ready like Harvey is ready in the similar age group. That’s really cool.
“We all need luck in life as well with injury and stuff like this, but without that he will be a really important player for us.”
A goal on his league debut against his former team? Don’t rule it out!
7. The man in the middle
The Reds’ first Premier League referee of the season will be Andy Madley, who has only taken charge of five Liverpool matches before this one.
The good news is that they were all Liverpool wins!
8. Did you know?
Liverpool failed to win either of their league encounters against Fulham in 2020/21.
The first saw the Reds held to a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage in December 2020, on a day Joel Matip started as the team’s only recognised centre-back alongside Fabinho, before being forced off with an injury of his own at half-time. Bad, bad memories.
The return fixture saw Fulham win at Anfield, with Mario Lemina’s strike enough to secure them the three points. Liverpool’s back four that day was Neco Williams, Nat Phillips, Rhys Williams and Andy Robertson. Even worse memories!
9. Not the only Liverpool game this weekend…
Think the friendlies are all over? Think again!
Those who don’t start at Craven Cottage are likely to be involved in a behind closed doors match that’s been scheduled for Sunday, which is believed to be against Aston Villa.
The Reds took on the same opposition in a similar friendly this time last year, one day after their opening day victory against Norwich.
Players who weren’t involved at Carrow Road featured against Villa the next day, and that will be the case again this time around, as Klopp looks to give his whole squad more valuable minutes.
10. Follow TIA’s live blog!
Liverpool’s first league game of the season is available to watch live on BT Sport for viewers in the UK.
If you are unable to watch the action, Henry Jackson will be guiding you through proceedings on This Is Anfield’s matchday live blog.
It’s good to be back. Up the Reds!