Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool's top stars can make instant impact to end miserable pre-season: Robertson

Liverpool 0 Napoli 3

Man on: Simone Verdi of Napoli is challenged by Andy Robertson
Man on: Simone Verdi of Napoli is challenged by Andy Robertson
Liverpool's Harvey Elliott

By Jason Edwards

Andy Robertson insists Liverpool have no reason to be concerned about their pre-season form after slumping to a 3-0 defeat against Napoli in Edinburgh yesterday.

Goals from Lorenzo Insigne, Arkadiusz Milik and Amin Younes earned the Italians a convincing victory at Murrayfield Stadium but, with Liverpool set to face Lyon on Wednesday ahead of next weekend's Community Shield clash with Manchester City, Robertson believes the European champions will benefit from the return of a host of key players.

Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah will report for pre-season training in Evian today, while Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri will re-join the group at the beginning of their training camp in the south of France.

"The lads coming back, even if they don't play, it gives you a lift when they train and with the way they go about their business," he said.

"It doesn't matter if they play on Wednesday or not, that's completely up to the manager three days in, but that's irrelevant: if they're back in training and back around the place then it makes a difference.

"Mo and Bobby are two of our main men and Alisson was magnificent last season. They are huge characters in the changing room as well so that'll be massive for us, and then Sadio will come back the following week.

"Once we get the whole team back together, and I think Shaq and Naby aren't far off too, they're players that are familiar around the set-up and around the system and that's what we need. The quicker we get all of us back together then hopefully the better.

"But it's not anyone else's fault, the young lads or whatever who have come in, we've all not been good enough and maybe Bobby and Mo and people like that will give us the lift that we need. Hopefully that does happen."

Liverpool yesterday completed the signing of winger Harvey Elliott from Fulham and handed the 16-year-old game time against Napoli.

Elliott made his Cottagers debut as a 15-year-old last September before going on to become the youngest debutant in Premier League history when he played against Wolves in May at the age of 16 years and 30 days.

Robertson has been impressed with some of the youngsters vying to make an impression during the Reds' pre-season campaign.

"They've been great and when young kids come in it's a breath of fresh air sometimes," he added.

"Harvey Elliott only signed and he's came on and done magnificent for 15 minutes. He's only 16-years-old and I think people forget that.

"Rhian (Brewster) had a great pre-season, Harry Wilson looked good when he came on. Look, we need these players to push us and they need to push us in every single position and if they do that then the gaffer will give them the chance.

"Fair play to them, when they came on and we were all off then it did look better. I was watching and it looked a lot better than we felt in the first half so credit to them.

"But now it's up to us to put in the performances. We have got one more game before it gets competitive and we need to get up to speed now."

Despite paying little heed to friendly results, Robertson admits Liverpool's performance in the Scottish capital fell below standards.

"It wasn't the best. Especially first half, the way we went about our business wasn't good enough - I think we maybe got going five minutes before the end but other than that I think we were miles off it," he explained.

"Napoli outplayed us and outdone us, really, so it's something that we'll now need to look at because a week today our season starts and it doesn't get any tougher than playing Man City. We need to be a hell of a lot better than we were today and that's what this week coming up is for.

"When the season comes I've got no doubt that we'll be ready, but we can't get in the habit of losing or drawing because then it starts to sink in and you start getting used to it and that's not what we need.

"So we need to start winning games: we've got a game Wednesday, hopefully we can get a result there, and then we go full throttle into the season and hopefully we have similar to last season."

Boss Jurgen Klopp reflected: "The start was good, and that's it. The start was good and the ending was good because the young boys came in and brought some freshness and they were cheeky and all that stuff. That looked nice.

"We just conceded two simple goals, each ball we lost was pretty much a proper counter-attack.

"Napoli are good in that, but you have to defend that obviously better or you have to keep the ball or you have to have a better formation.

"Pretty much you need to have everything better than we had in these situations and they had more chances. We had a couple of chances as well, the first one especially.

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