Football is back. Well, sort of. The pre-season friendlies have started and Tranmere have a big one this week with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool visiting Prenton Park.
The summer break seems to have flown by. I guess when you reach the play-offs, as we did, the gap between the end of the season and the start of the next is shorter. But still, it does seem to have gone by very quickly.
Micky Mellon’s squad have been back in pre-season training for almost two weeks now, including six days in Scotland where they took on Livingston in their opening fixture, losing 2-1.
You can read whatever you want into results in pre-season friendlies, but at the end of the day, they count for nothing when the real action starts on August 3.
Yes, of course, you’d like to win every game you take part in, but glittering form and results in pre-season doesn’t mean you’re going to start the season on fire. We’ve seen it in the past where we’ve had great results in pre-season and started the league slowly, and vice versa.
These games are all about building the players’ fitness, working on partnerships and understandings between players in game scenarios and for new players to bed themselves in and learn about the philosophy the manager and his staff have and working towards that opening league game of the season.
Looking at that game against Livingston at the weekend, most of the squad got a run out and at least 45 minutes under their belts, some a bit more, and Micky had a look at a couple of trialists.
I’d expect that some players will be given an extended run against Liverpool on Thursday evening. Those who played 45 minutes on Saturday might get an hour, that sort of thing. There may be a few trialists knocking around which the manager wants to look at again, as well.
It will be a good workout for the players. This is the fourth year in a row that LFC have visited Prenton Park, and no matter what kind of a side they put out, it’s going to be pretty hard work to get the ball off them if we’re going to be completely honest.
But that kind of test will help the fitness levels greatly, which will benefit the players in the build up to when it really matters at the beginning of August.
Here on Rovers Rearguard, we’ll have more match build up leading up to the fixture, so please keep an eye out for that.