The tour is finally over, even if it seemed like it took longer than the actual two weeks it took up. There's only the dress rehearsal against Dortmund at Anfield left before balls are kicked in anger instead of exercise. What did we learn from the five games here in the Colonies?
-Due to the World Cup stars arriving a little later, it's a great stage for players who probably won't matter much when the season starts, if they're on Liverpool's roster at all. Jordan Ibe and Suso both turned a lot of heads, especially early in the tour. But Ibe is certainly going to be loaned out again, perhaps to work on his at-times Juggernaut-like touch. Suso may be as well, though he's made all the noise that he'd like to stay and seems perhaps the most capable of replicating some of what Coutinho provides should the Brazilian get hurt.
-Speaking of Coutinho, he was generally the best player on the field in any game he took part in, and sometimes looked to have stratospheric class to the more ground-bound level of the players around him, Perhaps he's taking that Brazil snub a little hard and is going the "Shove it up Scolari's ass" route? A bunch of players are going to have to pick up the slack after Suarez's departure, but Coutinho looks the most likely to eat up most of the creative gap.
-Ditto for Raheem Sterling, who looks set to break out not just as one of England's promising young players but the world's. I don't know that I buy him yet playing at the head of midfield behind one or two strikers instead of out wide in a front three, but maybe he'll convince me this year. His finishing looked better than it did until the very end of last year, and the only other thing that might need a little work is his final ball/cross.
-Jordan Henderson never gets tired, and in fact may not be human.
-Watching Steven Gerrard in this holding role, such as it is, just convinces me more that Lucas should be kept around as insurance. As Liverpool's style evolves and it's not so much counter attack at ludicrous/plaid speed and more possession and creating openings, you feel Gerrard is going to have more space to man as his midfield won't be squeezing back onto him only to be sprung forward in an instant. There were a couple times when chances against were sprouted from where Gerrard should have been as deepest midfielder. Maybe it's just preseason and he was conserving, but it might be something the bigger teams attack.
-Mamadou Sakho can look utterly dominating and a beast one minute and then completely helpless the next. But that generally comes when next to Martin Skrtel. Am I the only one who thinks Skrtel shouldn't be anywhere near first choice with Lovren, Sakho, and Agger still in the squad? Is it because he's right-footed? I'm sure one of the three left-footed defenders could probably work out how to play on the right side of the pair. It's not calculous class.
-Still waiting on that left-back. Or a striker. An injury to Daniel Sturridge, which has already kind of happened, would be utter disaster right now. No offense to Rickie Lambert, of course.
Think that's about it. Let's kick this thing off already.