Of the starting XI – which included six players who are usually used in defence – only £35m target man Andy Carroll is likely to start against Sunderland. For the rest, it was a chance to impress the manager – or potential suitors – ahead of the new season. Summer signings Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing were not included in the squad, but they – along with other regular starters – look set to face Valerenga in Oslo on Monday.
One man who did make an appearance was Italian midfield maestro Alberto Aquilani, who came on as a substitute, despite the fact that his Liverpool future is currently up in the air. The 27-year-old was recently linked with a season-long loan move to Serie A side Fiorentina, but that deal reportedly fell through because the £20m man was only interested in a permanent switch. Liverpool appear to be happy to remove Aquilani from the wage bill, but with no European team willing to offer a suitable amount of money to sign him permanently, it looks increasingly likely that the former Roma star will spend the coming season at Anfield.
Meanwhile, classy striker Luis Suarez will be given enough time to recover after the Uruguayan forward was heavily involved with his country’s success in the recent Copa America. The former Ajax goal-machine is keen to return to Anfield ahead of the new campaign but Dalglish has given him the chance to take a two week break to ensure he is fit and raring to go by mid-August. Suarez may even be rested for the Premier League opener against Sunderland, but is likely to be back in the mix for the game against Arsenal just a week later.
As the new season comes closer, Dalglish will be looking to trim his squad as well as he can in order to cut the wage bill and possibly bring in some more players to improve the quality of his side. Liverpool are still looking to strengthen at the back, with many supporters suggesting that both a centre-half and a left-back are desperately needed. However, the Reds may need to start finding buyers for the likes of Christian Poulsen, Milan Jovanovic, David N’Gog, Philipp Degen, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Joe Cole and others if new defenders are to be brought in. Fortunately, the Merseysiders have another five weeks to buy and sell before the transfer window slams shut.