The restart of the 2019/20 season draws ever nearer and Premier League clubs have been ramping up their preparations with some behind-closed-doors friendlies.
The details have been frustratingly sketchy, with the lack of press representation a bit of a hindrance.
While some clubs have provided us with match reports, others have barely acknowledged that matches have taken place and we’ve instead had to rely on word of mouth from ‘in the know’ sources.
We’ll round up all we have heard so far in the below article.
Having first held an intra-squad friendly, Liverpool played Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday and hammered the Championship side 6-0.
Sadio Mane (£12.5m) scored and then assisted Takumi Minamino (£6.0m)’s strike, with Naby Keita (£5.8m), Joel Matip (£5.2m), Ki-Jana Hoever (£4.0m) and Leighton Clarkson also on target.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£6.2m) reportedly picked up a minor knock, while Mohamed Salah (£12.7m) and Andrew Robertson (£7.0m) missed out altogether.
Widespread media reports suggest their absence was merely precautionary, however.
Jurgen Klopp said after the match:
It was not only a workout; for us, it was a really important test and we wanted the players to go for 45 minutes [but] because of a few little issues we couldn’t do that, so we didn’t have enough ‘first-team players’, I would say, so that’s why we decided to let three players go for 60 minutes.
Budget FPL forward Eddie Nketiah (£4.4m)bagged a hat-trick in that opening game, with Alexandre Lacazette (£9.4m), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.1m) and Joe Willock (£4.7m) also on the scoresheet.
Willock and Lacazette were the scorers in the defeat to the Bees.
Having been used as a left-back by Mikel Arteta, Bukayo Saka (£4.7m) was reportedly deployed in more advanced, central positions in that Brentford game, with Aubameyang again stationed in wide roles.
The fit-again John McGinn (£5.4m) was handed minutes in Aston Villa’s 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion, with Jack Grealish‘s (£6.4m) superb solo goal in that game captured on camera.
Villa then took on Leicester City in two training matches at Villa Park and the King Power Stadium, although no results and scorers were officially released (social media rumours suggest Villa won one game 3-0, with Leicester 1-0 victors in the other).
Leicester Live had an educated stab at compiling the Foxes’ line-ups in both games and reported that Ayoze Perez (£6.2m) missed out through injury.
A solitary Pedro (£6.8m) strike was all that separated Chelsea and Reading on Wednesday, with our very own Rotation’s Alter Ego doing some detective work on the line-ups based on stills and video footage of the game.
Reece James (£5.1m) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (£5.2m) were reportedly absent with minor injuries but again, nothing official has been announced.
No official word emerged from Sheffield United’s friendly against Hull City in midweek but unverified suggestions that John Lundstram (£4.9m) scored a brace in a 4-0 win have been doing the rounds.
The Athletic reported that Billy Sharp (£5.6m) and David McGoldrick (£5.4m) were on target in two other 60-minute warm-up matches against Huddersfield Town.
Teemu Pukki (£6.5m) found the net in a six-goal thriller between two Norwich City teams last weekend, while Luke Shaw (£5.4m) confirmed eight goals were shared in a kickabout involving two Manchester United sides.
The left-back himself scored a brace, while Bruno Fernandes (£8.6m) and Marcus Rashford (£8.8m) were also involved in at least two goals each.
The Athletic’s Tim Spiers reported that Wolves lost 2-0 to Nottingham Forest in an unofficial friendly at Molineux on Tuesday, meanwhile, with a mix of first-teamers and under-23 players taking part.
Joelinton (£5.5m) was on target both in Newcastle United’s intra-squad friendly and subsequent 3-2 win over Middlesbrough, with Steve Bruce afterwards saying that the club had been working with the much-maligned Brazilian on his positioning.
We’ll bring you another round-up on Monday with anything we’ve heard over the weekend.
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