Liverpool face German opposition for the fourth time in pre-season on Monday, as SV Darmstadt 98 take on the Reds at Deepdale in their final friendly affair of the summer. Jurgen Klopp’s side lost a seven-goal spectacular 4-3 to Bayern Munich in their penultimate exhibition contest, while the visitors have failed to score in their four warm-up games so far. Starting life without Fabinho acting as the one-man midfield screen, a new-look Liverpool side shipped no fewer than four goals to Bayern when the two continental giants locked horns in Singapore on August 2, although Thomas Tuchel’s defence was far from watertight either.
However, Cody Gakpo, Virgil van Dijk and Luis Diaz’s efforts were in vain, as Bayern came out on top thanks to Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane, Josip Stanisic and 20-year-old left-back Frans Kratzig, who netted the game’s seventh and decisive goal with 90 minutes on the clock. While understandably lamenting defensive deficiencies that have bedevilled Liverpool over the summer – the Reds also shipped two goals to Karlsruher SC before being breached four times by Greuther Furth – Klopp allowed himself to enjoy the electric atmosphere in Singapore, where his side had previously thumped Leicester City 4-0.
From keeping the Foxes at bay to conceding at will against German outfits, Klopp may be grateful not to be facing sides from his homeland every week, as the Reds gear up for another 90 minutes of friendly football before the competitive action commences. With Van Dijk now donning the armband permanently and Trent Alexander-Arnold being appointed his deputy, Liverpool’s attentions will soon turn to an opening-day Premier League outing at Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea on August 13, but more faces are expected through the Anfield doors in the coming weeks.
Following a six-year stay in the doldrums of the Bundesliga 2, Darmstadt will be testing their mettle against the big boys of German football once again in the 2023-24 campaign, having achieved automatic promotion to the Bundesliga with a second-placed finish last term. A tally of 67 points saw Darmstadt edge out former powerhouses Hamburger SV, but there was still a palpable sense of disappointment on the final day, as Torsten Lieberknecht’s side were ultimately forced to settle for second place behind 1. FC Heidenheim on goal difference.