Liverpool’s International Champions Cup is set to receive an injection of star quality as the Reds touched down in New Jersey for the second leg of their US tour.
Having been beaten by Borussia Dortmund in Charlotte on Sunday evening, the Reds take on Manchester City at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on Wednesday evening.
Their preparations for the game were disrupted on Tuesday when their flight from Charlotte to Newark was heavily delayed due to adverse weather conditions. Jurgen Klopp and his squad trained in North Caroline in the morning, but arrived at their team hotel in Short Hills several hours later than scheduled.
They would be greeted by their new £13million ($17m) signing from Stoke City, Xherdan Shaqiri. The Switzerland international had only a short journey to make, ending his summer holiday in New York to link up with his new team-mates for the first time on Tuesday.
Shaqiri was greeted by only a handful of eager supporters as he arrived at Liverpool’s hotel but was in good spirits, posing for pictures and signing autographs. He will not feature against City, but has an outside chance of doing so in the Reds’ next game, against Manchester United in Michigan on Saturday evening.
Liverpool will, though, be able to call upon the services of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, who are set to play some part against Pep Guardiola’s side. The duo were not considered for selection against Dortmund having returned to training only 24 hours before the squad flew to the States, but have trained hard in the American heat and should be unleashed in the second half on Wednesday. Both players did considerable damage against the Premier League champions last season, of course.
Also returning will be Gini Wijnaldum, who is yet to feature this summer due to a mixture of injury and illness. The Dutchman has, surprisingly, been linked with a move away from Anfield in recent weeks, with Liverpool having strengthened their midfield options considerably, but Goal understands it is highly unlikely that he will leave before the end of the transfer window, with Klopp keen to retain the 27-year-old. Wijnaldum played 49 times in all competitions last season, including in the Champions League final in Kiev.
Another midfielder, Marko Grujic, is in line to play against City too. The Serbian’s future is uncertain with Lazio looking to secure a permanent deal. It is understood, though, that Klopp and Liverpool would prefer the 22-year-old to sign a new contract before joining Cardiff City on loan. Reds staff still have high hopes for the former Red Star Belgrade man, and believe a Premier League loan would boost his chances of being part of Klopp’s senior squad in the coming years. Grujic played 14 times in the Championship for Cardiff last season, helping Neil Warnock’s side win promotion to the top flight for the first time since 2014.
One player who is unlikely to leave, either permanently or on loan, is Daniel Sturridge, with the striker set to be given a surprise chance to resurrect his Reds career. Sturridge has impressed during the five pre-season friendlies so far, and has taken part in all training sessions in between. Th 28-year-old is entering the final year of his contract, but now looks like he will be spending it on Merseyside, a situation which looked unlikely back in May when he ended an unsuccessful loan spell with West Bromwich Albion.