A pre-season heavyweight showdown takes place at the Red Bull Arena on Thursday evening, as RB Leipzig take on Liverpool in a friendly encounter. Domenico Tedesco’s side got the better of Southampton 3-1 last time out, while the Reds picked up their first win of pre-season against Crystal Palace. The Domenico Tedesco revival at RB Leipzig culminated in a DFB-Pokal triumph for Die Roten Bullen last term, and the Bundesliga powerhouses already have reason to celebrate before the new campaign has even kicked off. After scoring and setting up goals for fun last season, Christopher Nkunku was courted by several European clubs but ultimately elected to renew his contract with Leipzig, who have been rather quiet in terms of incomings so far.
Liverpool’s next fixture in their pre-season sees them take on RB Leipzig over in Germany on Thursday. The Reds started their preparations for the 2022/23 earlier this month in Bangkok, losing 4-0 to Premier League rivals Manchester United before recovering with a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace. Leipzig’s friendly schedule start on Saturday when they eased to a 3-1 victory over Southampton. Here’s what you need to know for the fixture. First team stars Angelino, Emil Forsberg and Ilaix Moriba all scored in Leipzig’s 3-1 victory over Southampton. Konrad Laimer, Christopher Nkumku and Dani Olmo were among the other key players to get minutes for Domenico Tedesco’s side.
Xaver Schlager represents the hosts’ marquee acquisition so far, joining from Wolfsburg for a €12m (£10.2m) fee, while Hwang Hee-chan and Tyler Adams have both left the club on permanent deals to head to the Premier League with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leeds United respectively. Konrad Laimer and Brian Brobbey will seemingly be the next out of the door amid rumours of moves to Bayern Munich and Ajax respectively, but the duo were at least able to play a part in the recent friendly win over Southampton, where Tedesco’s men kicked off their summer in perfect fashion.
It has been a mixed preseason for Liverpool so far in terms of results, with a 4-0 defeat to Manchester United being followed by a 2-0 victory against Crystal Palace. The next assignment for Jurgen Klopp’s side sees them take on RB Leipzig, who won the DFB-Pokal last season and reached the semifinals of the Europa League. Having completed a tour which included a number of routine commercial commitments, Jurgen Klopp will be looking forward to the next stage of Liverpool’s summer schedule, with more focus on training and tactics. The Reds returned to England last Saturday, before a couple of training sessions at the AXA Training Centre early this week.
Angelino, Emil Forsberg and Ilaix Moriba were on target alongside an Adam Armstrong consolation in a 3-1 win for Die Roten Bullen, who conclude their pre-season preparations against Liverpool before taking part in the German Super Cup with Bayern Munich on July 30. Manchester United gleaned a slice of revenge over Liverpool by putting four unanswered goals past Jurgen Klopp’s second-string side in Bangkok, but a more familiar looking Reds XI ran out convincing winners against Crystal Palace in Singapore. Jordan Henderson and Mohamed Salah were both on target as Liverpool earned their first victory of the summer exhibition period, and the FA Cup and EFL Cup holders still have a couple of plane journeys to make before another quest for Premier League glory begins.
Red Bull Salzburg lie in wait at their own Red Bull Arena in Austria later this month before Ligue 1 side Strasbourg visit Anfield on July 31 – one day after Klopp leads his men out for the Community Shield against Manchester City. It has been all quiet on the transfer front at Anfield since Darwin Nunez, Calvin Ramsay and Fabio Carvalho’s arrivals were confirmed, with Klopp insisting that a new midfielder is not a priority for the current window, so Reds fans anticipating any more incomings this summer should not hold their breath. Leipzig and Liverpool previously met in the last-16 of the 2020-21 Champions League, where the Reds eased to a 4-0 aggregate success to advance to the quarter-finals, with Salah and Sadio Mane – soon to be a familiar foe of Die Roten Bullen’s – both bagging two goals apiece.
Leipzig’s treatment room is still not fully empty, as Tedesco is expecting to be working without much-coveted defender Josko Gvardiol until the start of the Bundesliga season due to a thigh injury, which he recently underwent surgery for. Striker Yussuf Poulsen is also on the comeback trail after suffering a muscular injury with Denmark, while Ademola Lookman has also emerged as a doubt after taking a blow to the ankle in training last week. Tedesco will make full use of his squad this week, but a strong starting XI should see Peter Gulacsi handed the gloves against his former club, while Alexander Sorloth should lead the line in Poulsen’s absence.
Similarly, Liverpool boss Klopp also has a few bumps and bruises to contend with at the minute, and there are fears that Diogo Jota has suffered a recurrence of a previous hamstring injury he sustained while on duty with Portugal. Alisson Becker will also not be available for Thursday’s game due to an abdominal issue, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came off with yet another muscular injury in the win over Palace last week. Joe Gomez was left out as a precaution but is now back in training, while Kaide Gordon, Caoimhin Kelleher and Ramsay are unlikely to be risked just yet either. Mohamed Salah could be among those thrust back into the starting XI as Liverpool click into gear for the new season, with Adrian in between the sticks once again.
RB Leipzig possible starting lineup:
Gulacsi; Klostermann, Simakan, Orban; Mukiele, Haidara, Kampl, Halstenberg; Nkunku, Forsberg; Sorloth
Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Elliott, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Nunez, Diaz