Premier League champions, Liverpool, will be kickstarting their preseason programme with a friendly game against Bundesliga newcomers, VFB Stuttgart.
The Reds are currently camping in Austria for their preseason ahead do the September 12 kick-off date for the new Premier League season. They will be playing two pre-season friendly games while in Austria, with the first coming up against Stuttgart first on Saturday at 5 pm (BST) at the Stadion Burgerau.
The champions are back tomorrow! 🤗
🗓 Saturday 22nd August
🕔 5pm KO (BST)
📺 @LFCTV and @LFCTV GO #LFCPreSeason
— Liverpool FC (Premier League Champions 🏆) (@LFC) August 21, 2020
The last time the Reds were in action was 25 days ago when they lifted the Premier League trophy for the first time in 30 years after the match against Chelsea at Anfield. So, with off-season done and pre-season training already begun, Liverpool will be returning to the field to sharpen their match fitness after the players were given some weeks break.
Liverpool playing in Austria added to the quarantine list
Meanwhile, there were doubts that Liverpool might not be able to play all the games needed before kickstarting the Premier League season. It is surprising that the game against the German club will still go ahead because Austria has been added to the UK’s quarantine list. Normally, they would have played about eight tune-up games before competitive games.
It was gathered that Liverpool will apply for exemption from the rules as the squad continues to undergo regular testing. The responsibility has been handed over to the club medical staff, administration staff, and planning coordinators while the coach Jurgen Klopp and his players prepare for the new campaign. They need to be up to speed on the pitch as teams will be marking them out more.
Recall that Klopp had said that Liverpool won’t be defending the Premier League title but attacking it. So, the game against Stuttgart will give a glimpse of the progress seen in the side so far.
Stuttgart back in the Bundesliga
Stuttgart is no stranger in the top flight, having been a top-flight team for 39 straight seasons until 2016/17 that they got relegated. They made their return to the top tier last year after finishing in second place in the 2.Bundesliga, just a year after being relegated.
Apart from winning the second division title in 2017, the last top-flight success recorded by Stuttgart was in 2007, when they won the Bundesliga and finished as runners-up in the DFB-Pokal.
Stuttgart will also feature in the Helden that involved Hamburg, Arminia Bielefeld, and Feyenoord. Their games against Mainz and Marseille had to be called off due to confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the squads of each of those opponents.
Liverpool Vs Stuttgart stats
Liverpool has met Stuttgart just once in a friendly in 1980. The Reds have also sold players to them twice: Sean Dundee and Markus Babbel.
Speaking ahead of the game, Klopp noted that the pandemic has forced the club to only play two games before their Community Shield against Arsenal.
“From a sports point of view, it’s important for us obviously after the mini-break to find our feet as quick as possible, if you want.
“Training looks really, really good at the moment – this is actually what we expected, the boys didn’t lose a lot from the physical abilities.
“So now [we] are in the middle of the preparation, all the tactical stuff already. So it looks really good in the moment and the two opponents are really good opponents, so that will be really tough.
“The agency who helped us with the organisation came up immediately with Stuttgart and said they are in the area so maybe we can make a game there. Then they were happy, we are very happy, so that’s good, first and foremost.
“We are here in the wider Salzburg area, so on the way home pretty much, if you want, we play them.”