Liverpool VS Norwich City Match LIVE Football Score 14/08/2021
Liverpool will be able to welcome back Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez for their Premier League opener against Norwich, but will be without Andy Robertson. Both have returned from long-term injuries and were able to get a number of minutes under their belts during pre-season in a huge boost for the Reds’ tilt at the title.
“I think so, it looks like [they are available to start],” said Jurgen Klopp on Friday. “But how it is with these kind of things, we have nothing to rush in this department.” However, Robertson was less fortunate and faces a few weeks out with ankle ligament damage, meaning Kostas Tsimikas is expected to build on his six Premier League minutes last season with a start – take note FPL players.
Further forward, Klopp has a decision to make in attack between Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino. The latter’s extended run at Copa America with Brazil, and therefore fewer pre-season minutes, could play into Jota’s hands for the first time.
It was unprecedented really because he took them away for four weeks – they had three weeks in Austria and one in France – I can’t think of a time when a manager has been able to take a Liverpool team away for so long.
During that period, they got Joel Matip, Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold back. They had the usual issues of players coming back from international duty at different times, especially with the Brazilians who went all the way to the final in the Copa America. Obviously, Jordan Henderson reached the EURO 2020 final with England as well.
It’s been a really good pre-season for Liverpool, loads of young players have stepped up and delivered. Fringe players have really staked a claim and then you’ve got star men like Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane who look really fresh and hungry.
Naby Keita is someone who has had such a stop-start Liverpool career and has had a massively impressive pre-season.
People would have questioned whether Minamino, who you mentioned then, had a future at the club after being loaned out to Southampton, but he’s come in and done really well.
We can’t legislate for any tactical nuisances Klopp might consider in light of the opposition, but as things stand it seems likely Liverpool’s well-established front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane will start.
While Firmino now has Diogo Jota breathing down his neck for a starting berth, the Brazilian has always been reliable on the road – 21 of his 33 goal involvements over the last two Premier League campaigns have come away from Anfield.
You’d have to mention Harvey Elliott as well – a young player who went out on loan to Blackburn in the Championship last season. Rewind a month and there was a fair bit of debate about what would happen with him this season and if he’d be loaned out again, but I think he’s been so good in pre-season that he’s made that debate completely irrelevant. The only real question going into the weekend is whether he starts or is on the bench, because he’s been that impressive.
Rewarded with a new four-year contract for his efforts, Daniel Farke prepares to navigate another Premier League campaign in charge of the Canaries, whose tally of five wins and 21 points in the 2019-20 season saw them finish rock bottom of the pile, in spite of some individual shining lights.
One of those standout players – Emiliano Buendia – will now be lining up against Farke’s side following a move to Aston Villa, but Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki will endeavour to once again prove their top-flight credentials, with Norwich facing another inevitable fight to avoid a swift demotion.
Having beaten King’s Lynn Town, Lincoln City, Huddersfield Town and Gillingham in pre-season, Norwich tested themselves against Premier League opposition during their final warm-up match, but they were comfortably dispatched 3-0 by Newcastle United earlier this month.
However, recent coronavirus chaos has disrupted Farke’s pre-season plans a considerable amount, with any chances of a first opening-day victory in the Premier League since the inaugural 1992-93 season slim enough as it is.