Fleetwood v Liverpool: Big friendly preview

Liverpool's owners have approached manager Jurgen Klopp about extending his contract
Liverpool's owners have approached manager Jurgen Klopp about extending his contract

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp joked that he thought Fleetwood was a rock band rather than a football club ahead of the Premier League side’s game at Highbury tonight.

The jovial German was in high spirits after Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Tranmere Rovers in Saturday’s opening friendly.

Second-half substitute Danny Ings scored the only goal 11 minutes from time, after he latched on to Trent Alexander-Arnold’s pass.

While not realising that Fleetwood are two divisions above Gary Brabin’s National League outfit, Klopp he is expecting Steven Pressley’s outfit to be a sterner test than Tranmere tonight (7pm).

He said: “At this moment I know nothing about Fleetwood. I thought they were a rock band (Fleetwood Mac) to be honest!

“We have another few days training that will again be intensive. We have to see how the boys react in training. We are learning still from each other and at Fleetwood we will go again.

“They are one league higher (than Tranmere – actually two), so it will not be easier. It will be more difficult, so we will be prepared. That is how it is. That is how we wanted it and let’s go again...”

None of the 12 Liverpool players who featured in Euro 2016 or the Copa America in the USA (Philippe Coutinho) will be involved tonight as Klopp gives them all a three-week break. Slovakia captain Martin Skrtel is the first of those due back in training next Monday, followed by the Reds’ five England stars.

Klopp blooded a number of youngsters at Tranmere and gave a first outing to keeper Loris Karius, defender Joel Matip and £36m signing Sadio Mane, who are all expected to be given game0time at Highbury tonight.

Klopp heaped praise on the “chunky” Tranmere side and stressed that goalscorer Ings is set to feature again.

That was only the striker’s second game since damaging knee ligaments last October. He made his comeback in the draw at West Brom on the final day of last season.

Klopp said: “Nobody is injured. It is pre-season and it is hard work. “We have had a lot of chances and scored only one but that is OK.

“(Tranmere were) a very good, organised side and really good footballers. They showed a little bit that with one or two more kilograms on the hips you can still play football. They did really well.

Of matchwinner Ings, he added: “I can imagine (it was) a special day, but after the last year and so on he should not put too much pressure on himself.

“He should enjoy the game – he needs to get fit after the long, long-term injury he had. You need a long period to get back into 100 per cent shape.

“I know for Danny and all the other players we have a really long way to go in this pre-season. We have to use this time.”