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Eight things learned from Liverpool's tour of the United States

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp

Liverpool played three games during their tour of the United States.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp watches the players warm upLiverpool manager Juergen Klopp watches the players warm up

Liverpool return home from their pre-season tour of the United States with plenty learned, but they would have liked to be in better shape - especially on the injury front. 

Jurgen Klopp will have seen some encouraging signs from his side though may have wanted an improvement in terms of results. The Reds beat AC Milan but lost to both Chelsea and Roma as preparations continue for Klopp's first full season at the helm at Anfield. 

There are two friendly games left for the Reds with an International Champions Cup match against Barcelona on Saturday evening at Wembley for Klopp takes a side to former club Mainz the following day.

However, there were still plenty of things to take from the U.S. tour ahead of the new season:

Wijnaldum could operate deeper

Some will have thought that given his role at Newcastle, the Dutchman will be adding to the bulging number of players that can play in an advanced role, off the main forwards. But in the games against Milan and Roma he started sitting alongside either Jordan Henderson or Emre Can - which is perhaps an indication of the role that Klopp wants him to play, while delivering a decent goal return.

Ragnar Klavan is here to play and not just sit on the bench 

Liverpool's Ragnar Klavan (L) in action with Chelsea's Bertrand TraoreLiverpool's Ragnar Klavan (L) in action with Chelsea's Bertrand Traore

Against both Chelsea and AC Milan the summer signing from Augsburg seemed to impress and develop an understanding with Dejan Lovren. The pre-season games prior to his arrival saw Lovren partner Joel Matip, and Klavan was billed as a signing to provide cover to the heart of the defence, but a couple of his performances have indicated that he can do more than simply just offer cover. 

Klopp could have a selection dilemma for start of the season up front

This all depends on the kind of system that Klopp wants to play but both Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi have shown signs of real sharpness - and if there is just the one main striker for the Reds then it could be a tough call between the two for the opening game of the season against Arsenal.

Roberto Firmino has also led the line, and found the net, while Danny Ings may have got some game time in the U.S., and a couple of goals prior to the tour, he looks likely to start the season as cover.

Added pace is a real threat

Liverpool's Sadio Mane in actionLiverpool's Sadio Mane in action

It seemed clear that Klopp wanted more pace in the team, and it certainly could prove useful in the season ahead - one only needs to look at Liverpool's second goal against AC Milan - scored by Firmino - to see just how effective it was. Lazar Markovic and Sheyi Ojo were both involved. Though Sadio Mane's willingness to get in behind causes defences a few problems and while Markovic's future is under the spotlight somewhat - and he may not have found his feet - he could be worth keeping hold of for that attribute along while ironing out any creases to his game on the training ground.

Breaking down sides could still be problematic – so patience is key

Liverpool had a lot of the ball against Chelsea, yet couldn't find the goal against a well drilled defensive unit, while they had to be patient against AC Milan. What's clear is that this isn't going to be an attacking unit that will dismantle whatever is put in front of them at will - at least not yet anyway. 

Still defensive issues for side to iron out 

Some will point to the goal against Chelsea of Liverpool's Achilles heel as not yet solved - when in reality it was a decent set piece delivery, and every side will concede one or two goals from set-pieces in the season ahead. That said, there needs to be some work on communication between key players - the Roma game saw one or two frailties. The upcoming friendly against Barcelona should be a good test on any work done between now and then.

Goalkeeping now unconvincing – difference highlighted between the two

Liverpool's Loris Karius (2nd L) in actionLiverpool's Loris Karius (2nd L) in action

It's bad luck for Liverpool that goalkeeper Loris Karius will now miss the opening games of the new season because of a broken hand - by trying to be decisive and ensuring danger is sorted, even if he takes out a player in the process. Now they're left with Simon Mignolet starting the season in goal, and his lacked of composure in some part led to Roma's winner in St. Louis. 

Best team is still an unknown

This could be a good thing. Klopp is probably experimenting with his players and is probably keeping Premier League sides guessing ahead of his opening games, but also a show that he has plenty of options at his disposal. One would expect his preferred team to be a little clearer when the starting XI for the game against Barcelona at Wembley is announced.

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