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Liverpool v Preston Preview

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A look at the tribute match to Bill Shankly.

US: 10am ET on Al Jazeera beIN Sport UK: 3pm BST on ESPN

It’s that time again, meaningless games where we see few stars, but many starlets. This one though has a deeper meaning, back to the roots of much of Liverpool’s success. It was at Preston North End where Bill Shankly honed his skills before moving to Liverpool and elevating them to the club we all know today. He was well loved at Preston as well and even has a stand named after him. I can’t think of a better way to honor his upcoming 100th birthday…other than playing it September 2, his actual birthday (yes I realize why they aren’t doing that).

As for the match, what can we expect? Youth would be my guess. It is also looking like Joe Allen and Raheem Sterling may get a run out after being hampered by injuries towards the end of last year. Obviously there are a lot of expectations for both of these gents this year. For Sterling, he had a breakout start to the season, but quickly petered out. As for Allen, the story is similar. However, he continued to play through it. The hope is though, that with a fixed shoulder he’ll stand stronger in the midfield.

The return of Martin Kelly for this friendly has been ruled doubtful though. For me, he is the one to watch in preseason as he could give Glen Johnson some decent cover/competition. As the preseason moves on though, his form will be important to whether or no Liverpool need to strengthen the RB slot or not.

It remains to be seen how many of the new signings make the lineup, but there is sure to be a few. BR has stated that he plans on using all of them, “if they are well…” It sounds more like a built in excuse to not use them and not be a liar, but it would be foolish not to give them even a short run out. Use this for your gamethread for those of you able to watch it live, enjoy. The real season is only a month away!