Liverpool’s 2023 Pre-Season: Top 5 Performers
- Egyptian King delivers once again
Liverpool’s 2023 pre-season campaign came to a satisfying end with a 3-1 victory against Darmstadt 98 at Deepdale on Monday evening. The summer schedule saw the Reds pick up victories against Karlsruher SC, Leicester City and Darmstadt 98, whilst drawing 4-4 with Greuther Furth and also suffering a 4-3 defeat to Bayern Munich. Despite the somewhat patchy form in terms of results, some individual performances have left Liverpool fans rather excited ahead of the new campaign.
Certainly the most obvious name on this list, but Mohamed Salah has looked absolutely phenomenal across the summer and goes into the start of the season in fine form. In the opening fixture against Karlsruher SC, the Egyptian King played 45 minutes and set-up Darwin Nunez for the Reds’ first goal of pre-season. Against Greuther Furth, Salah came on as a half-time substitute and managed to notch two assists and score one himself, as his chemistry with Darwin Nunez continued to flourish. In the 4-0 victory against Leicester City Salah once again created two goals, before grabbing yet another assist against Bayern Munich. Finally, against Darmstadt 98, Salah scored one and assisted another in the 3-1 victory at Deepdale. The Egyptian King finished pre-season on two goals and seven assists from a total of 274 minutes, averaging a goal involvement every 30 minutes of football.
- Colombian returns with a bang after injury woes
Perhaps another expected name on this list, Luis Diaz has taken a huge leap in his recovery from a horrific injury-plagued 2022/23 season with the Reds. After suffering two serious knee injuries last season, this pre-season was crucial in making sure the Colombian was fully fit and firing ahead of the 2023/24 season. Diaz’s worth ethic and natural ability have never been in doubt since his arrival at Liverpool, but he hasn’t quite managed to get his goal contribution numbers up to the standard that the likes of Mane and Firmino managed before their departure. The Colombian looked much more of a goal threat in pre-season, scoring three goals and assisting two across five appearances. I certainly expect Diaz to play a crucial role for Liverpool this season and become a regular starter on the wing along with Mohamed Salah.
- 17-year-old Scottish prodigy shows promise
17-year-old Ben Doak’s potential has been known for some time amongst Liverpool supporters, but after a hugely successful pre-season, the Reds might have found a potential backup to Mohamed Salah. The Scottish youngster featured in all five of Liverpool’s pre-season games and even managed to get his name on the scoresheet in the 4-0 victory over Leicester City. Although his goalscoring numbers may not be up there quite yet, I struggle to think of such a young player look so mature and reliable as Doak has looked every time he has put on a Liverpool shirt. Doak’s relentless pace and dribbling ability proved to be a handful for full-backs across pre-season, and I definitely expect to see the teenager feature regularly in the Europa League and the domestic cups.
- 20-year-old defender stakes his claim
This one may come as a surprise to some, but 20-year-old Jarell Quansah really took a huge step in terms of his development across the summer. Quansah featured in all five pre-season games, suggesting that the youngster could be Jurgen Klopp’s fifth choice centre-back going into the 2023/24 season. With Klopp currently being forced into using Joe Gomez as a back-up right-back behind Trent Alexander-Arnold, Quansah could be in line for regular appearances in the domestic cup competitions and in Europe. The youngster looked solid throughout pre-season, being a commanding presence at the back, happily throwing himself at any shot and also looking hugely confident with the ball at his feet.
Alexis Mac Allister:
- Liverpool’s new signing shines in midfield
The final name on the list is Liverpool’s new summer signing Alexis Mac Allister, who has been a regular fixture across pre-season. Although Mac Allister hasn’t been directly involved in many goals, his ability to dictate the tempo of the game and control possession has been a joy to watch. I actually think that the Argentine has been signed as a replacement for Thiago Alcantara, who has largely struggled to maintain fitness over recent years. However, it’s not just Mac Allister’s ability on the ball which has been admirable but also his ability to win the ball back and then carry the ball forward is something Liverpool have missed since the departure of Gini Wijnaldum back in 2021.
Honourable mentions:Liverpool, Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz, Ben Doak, Jarell Quansah, Alexis Mac Allister, Pre-season 2023, Klopp, Anfield, Premier League
- Klopp’s options for a challenging season ahead
Following on from the above five players, Klopp’s other three attacking options in Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota, and Cody Gakpo have all been hugely impressive in pre-season. Youngster, Callum Scanlon has also looked promising whilst featuring at both left-back and left-wing. Major summer signing Dominik Szobozslai has also fit into Klopp’s plans pretty well across pre-season, with a minor foot injury hampering his development ever so slightly.