We could probably all do with picking up after the Champions League final, right? Luckily the World Cup is upon us to offer a welcome distraction for a month-and-a-bit. Better still, there are eight Liverpool players at the tournament to keep an eye out (and cheer on).
Here’s our guide to how they might fare:
Henderson is vying with Tottenham’s Eric Dier for a starting berth – with Gareth Southgate saying that he wants a single ‘pivot’ in midfield. Henderson’s passing range could well give him the edge over the Spurs man, especially with Southgate playing with three central defenders. With 38 caps under his belt, the Liverpool skipper heads to Russia as one of the most experienced players in a youthful Three Lions squad.
If Henderson is one of the ‘old heads’, Trent Alexander-Arnold is definitely the baby of squad. The 19-year-old right back has been a revelation for the Reds this season and will only benefit from the experience of being at a tournament, even if Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker are likely to be ahead of him in the pecking order for a starting position. Alexander-Arnold was handed his first match shirt by Prince William before making his debut in the 2-0 friendly win over Costa Rica in Leeds.
Simon Mignolet spoke with great dignity in support of Loris Karius after the Champions League final, offering support to the man who dislodged him as Liverpool’s first choice keeper last season. Mignolet has had to get used to being an understudy at Anfield – and will no doubt be one at the World Cup too, behind Thibaut Courtois in Roberto Martinez’s plans. If anything happens to Courtois, he could face England in the all-important third group game.
Firmino must love playing at Anfield. Not content with starring in Jurgen Klopp’s side in the Premier League, the 26-year-old also scored for Brazil in the 2-0 friendly win over Croatia played at his home ground. The strike was his sixth in a Brazil shirt, and he’ll be looking to add to his tally in Russia while playing a part in Tite’s new-look Brazil side. The outright odds at William Hill show that Brazil are the pre-tournament favourites, so we might be seeing plenty of ‘Bobby’ this summer.
Liverpool fans have finally started to see the best of Dejan Lovren – with the Croatian defender playing an important part in a team that kept 17 Premier League clean sheets in 2017/18 (five more than the previous season). The 28-year-old has had his critics at international level, but is likely to earn a starting role under Zlatko Dalic.
Mane is the star player for Senegal and comes into the tournament in good form, having netted Liverpool’s goal against Real Madrid in Ukraine, his tenth in this season’s Champions League. He should play a prominent role in Aliou Cisse’s side, with every chance of getting out of an intriguing looking group involving Poland, Colombia and Japan.
The 22-year-old has struggled to make an impression on Merseyside since his £5.1 million arrival from Red Star Belgrade, but did gain some useful experience on loan at Cardiff at the end of last season, helping the Bluebirds to earn promotion back to the Premier League. With Fabinho and Naby Keita already signed up for next season, Grujic’s future is subject to speculation. He’ll be hoping to put himself in the shop window with Serbia – although faces a tough task to get into this side with competition from Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic, Crystal Palace’s Luka Milivojevic, Southampton’s Dusan Tadic and Lazio rising star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Ironically, Grujic is seen in some circles as a potential replacement for Milinkovic-Savic if he makes a big money move this summer.
Last, but by no means least, is Mo Salah. The new king of the Kop earned the PFA player of the year title in a stunning 44-goal campaign and is equally revered by fans of his home nation. Indeed, Egyptian fans have made their thoughts known about Sergio Ramos after their Champions League final tangle – and are distinctly unimpressed at the prospect of an injury to their star man, who has 33 goals in 57 caps. Should he shake the injury off, there’s every chance that Salah can inspire Hector Cuper’s side to progress beyond the group stages in Russia, with games against Uruguay, Saudi Arabia and the hosts to overcome.
Whether England make it far or not, there are plenty of players for Liverpool fans to get behind in the upcoming festival of football. In Firmino, there’s even every chance that Klopp could field a World Cup winner in his ranks by the time the season starts in August.