Liverpool will soon travel to Finland for the final leg of their pre-season tour, preparing to face champions HJK.
For the first time, Brendan Rodgers will have Coutinho, Emre Can, Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke available – with the first three given extended leave due to international commitments, and the latter signing while the side was still in Australia.
We’ve so far played four pre-season friendlies, winning three and drawing one, and Adam Lallana, James Milner and Jordon Ibe are the three players who’ve probably impressed most.
But are they guaranteed starters?
Below, we’ve listed four players who probably need to impress in Finland if they’re to start the Stoke fixture.
1) Emre Can
The German powerhouse is many fan’s primary option for the anchorman spot in the 4-3-3 formation we’ve used all pre-season, but as he missed out on the tour – Lucas and Joe Allen have an advantage over him. Can is too good to play in defence again this term, but will need to fight if he’s to start ahead of his more experienced Brazilian and Welsh counterparts. The 21-year-old looked impressive in an Under-21 fixture versus Porto last weekend, but needs to encourage Brendan Rodgers to take the gamble and trust him in the deep-lying role instead of the safer option Lucas or Allen provide. Can is more talented than both, but at the moment, is less disciplined – which is a problem in a defensive position. We hope he starts in Helsinki, and gives Rodgers no choice when the boss is picking his XI to face Stoke.
Read More: HJK v Liverpool: 4 Reds playing for a PL opening day starting spot, with Emre Can & Jordon Ibe