Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists second-choice goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is staying at the club this season despite the Belgian having concerns about his pitch time.
The 31-year-old lost his place to Alisson last summer with the Brazilian already proving good value for his £65million fee after playing a key role in their Champions League victory and finishing the campaign as Golden Glove winner with 21 clean sheets.
That restricted Mignolet, with 204 appearances for the Reds, to just 180 minutes last season and despite having two years left on his contract the Belgium international wants to play first-team football.
His attitude and professionalism last season was praised by Klopp and his backroom staff and the manager said he will be staying this summer.
“Yes, (it’s) how I’ve heard,” said the German.
“I’ve had a lot of conversations in the last couple of years, months – not weeks. Before we left (for the summer break) we had talk. I would say yes (he stays).
“At a club like Liverpool you need two number ones in the club and we have that with Ali and Simon.
“It’s a good situation for the club and a situation you should have and that’s why everything is fine from my point of view.”
While Klopp feels he has plenty of strength in his top two goalkeepers he has issues below that top tier with 20-year-old Caoimhin Kelleher facing up to six weeks out after wrist surgery, Vitezslav Jaros, 17, out for several weeks with an elbow ligament injury and Polish youth international Kamil Grabara yet to report back for pre-season training.
With Alisson also still to return after his Copa America triumph with Brazil, former Preston goalkeeper Andy Lonergan, released by Middlesbrough at the end of the season after a loan spell at Rochdale, has been brought in for the club’s tour of the United States which begins on Tuesday.
The 35-year-old is not signing a contract but it is understood Klopp and goalkeeping coach John Achterberg feel they need someone of a decent standard to play in training.
Lonergan may also be retained for the training camp in Evian when the squad returns from America a week on Thursday.
Summer signing Sepp Van Den Berg is set to make his first appearance in a Liverpool shirt on the club’s tour of the United States as he is still awaiting international clearance.
Paperwork for the 17-year-old, who arrived last month from PEC Zwolle for an initial £1.3million fee, is still being processed by FIFA and until the club receives official confirmation, he is only allowed to train with the squad.
It means he is unlikely to feature in Sunday’s second pre-season friendly at Bradford but will travel to America with the rest of the squad on Tuesday for training and matches against Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Sporting Lisbon.
Liverpool already have four established centre-backs in Virgil Van Dijk, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren – who is interesting AC Milan but will only be allowed to leave for offers in excess of £25m – so Van Den Berg has been brought in with one eye on the future.
However, manager Jurgen Klopp has not ruled out the Dutch Under-19 defender being involved with the first team this season.
“It depends. I open the door but the boys have to go through still,” Klopp said.
Sepp van den Berg will not make his Reds debut tonight.— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 11, 2019
“He is a wonderful player as well, but because of FIFA rules he is not available in the moment, but we have other good players.
“He thought his future should be here and I thought the same, so now he is here and now let’s work together.
“He is 17-years-old and when you see him you forget that constantly, but he is 17 and so there is a lot to learn.
“The good thing is he has the most time to do so, so everything will be fine.”
Klopp is also expected to add more youth to the ranks with the acquisition of Fulham youngster Harvey Elliott, PA understands.
The 16-year-old, who holds the record for the Premier League’s youngest player, rejected a new deal at Craven Cottage and was in the stands to watch Liverpool’s 6-0 friendly win at Tranmere on Thursday.
He cannot, however, sign a professional contract until he turns 17 next April and a compensation fee is to be decided by a tribunal.
Nations League participants Van Dijk, Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold return to pre-season training on Saturday, with Scotland captain Andy Robertson set to join them over the weekend, although none will feature at Bradford.
Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster has been told by manager Jurgen Klopp he has an important role to play this season.
The 19-year-old, who scored twice in a 6-0 pre-season friendly win against Tranmere, could end up saving the Reds boss millions in the transfer window if he fulfills his potential.
He has been lined up to fill the boots vacated by Daniel Sturridge as the team’s third-choice centre-forward after Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi, who has just signed a new contract.
However, Klopp wants the player to start developing his all-round game.
“I love the boy, he is fantastic player, but one of the goals I would have scored,” said Klopp.
“We knew Rhian was a good player before. Why should I play it down? I just don’t want to talk after a game about the guy who scored two goals.
“I saw a really good game and Rhian is a fantastic player.
“One hundred per cent [it is a big season] but it depends on him as well. Divock Origi stays which is good news, Bobby Firmino is still there.
“Rhian Brewster is a top striker, he is a top talent and I have told him already that he has an important role this year but how important depends on him.
“We will see. He has to play different positions as well – the centre, wing is possible I think, we will see how we line up, but there will be opportunities for him. I am sure.”
Liverpool have so far signed youngster Sepp Van Den Berg but are not expected to make any major signings this summer.
“Rhian Brewster, (Alex) Oxlade-Chamberlain didn’t play last year, all the young boys didn’t play for us last year,” said Klopp.
“The transfer market is open. We will see what we do, but I don’t think it will be the biggest transfer window of all time.”
In addition to Brewster’s double there were also goals for Origi, Curtis Jones, Bobby Duncan and Nathaniel Clyne in a squad which relied heavily on youth, with a number of internationals still to return to training.
Of the squad which won the Champions League 40 days ago, James Milner, Adam Lallana, Simon Mignolet, Joe Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Origi and Joel Matip all featured for 45 minutes at Prenton Park.