Liverpool today played an impromptu friendly in Kuala Lumpar versus Felda United and thrashed the Malaysian minnows 7-0, with Danny Ings notching a hat-trick.
But although the match was staged to get those not heavily involved so far game time, and though it was played in good spirits, Brendan Rodgers’ team selection can explain something about who he’s likely to start tomorrow versus the more accomplished Malaysia XI, and perhaps more importantly – who he rates between players competing for the same position…
Here’s the side that started today’s game in the National Stadium:
#LFC team v Felda: Fulton, Wisdom, Toure, Sakho, Maguire, Ojo, Rossiter, Chirivella, Markovic, Teixeira and Ings. We’re underway.
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) July 23, 2015
One of the main selection dilemmas Rodgers faces at the start of the campaign is which centre-back pairing to select, and with Martin Skrtel seemingly guaranteed to fill one of the berths, Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren are competing to start alongside him. Versus Felda, Sakho played, meaning Rodgers is likely using Skrtel and Lovren tomorrow – in a possible attempt to get them more practice together before the season begins.
This will irritate many Reds who believe Sakho is actually our best defender.
Up top, Danny Ings played and notched a hat-trick, albeit against very ropey opposition. But his selection today ahead of Divock Origi shows that the Belgian should start tomorrow alongside the prospective first-teamers, such as James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana.
Ings’ hat-trick through will be impossible to ignore of course, as will the fact Christian Benteke has just signed for huge money and will surely be given an automatic run of games above the pair of them due to the fee.
Of course, this is pure speculation, and nobody bar the coaching staff and the manager himself know Rodgers’ inner thoughts going into the season. On the surface though, we think Sakho can be upset by his selection today – but we’re glad Ings took his chance.