Plenty for Klopp to ponder after loss
Borussia Dortmund rounded off their preseason with a 4-0 hammering at the hands of a rampant Liverpool side -- but what did we learn from the match at Anfield on Sunday?
- Friendlies: Coutinho stars in Liverpool rout
World Cup takes its toll
Starting with the obvious, the main difference between the two teams was coherency. While Liverpool already looked like a well-oiled machine, Dortmund had a lot of misplaced passes in their buildup play and in defence.
Coach Jurgen Klopp has two weeks left to settle on his team and get them working together ahead of when it really matters.
The BVB players who featured at the World Cup have only a short break before getting integrated back into the team ahead of the Bundesliga season.
Matthias Ginter in particular will undoubtedly find it difficult to immediately adjust to his new surroundings. It was no surprise to see lapses in defence after such little training, but BVB and Germany fans will not be too downbeat about that after such a glorious summer.
Double-pivot a problem?
Not everything can be blamed on the World Cup and other outside circumstances. The attempt to play Sebastian Kehl and Oliver Kirch as a double-pivot did not work as planned.
Their movement was not as sharp as could be and both lack the pace to cover for errors in their making. Liverpool exposed Klopp's men time and time again, and his rueful grin suggested he wasn't exactly happy with his team's performance. His side lacked edge in their buildup play, which forced Henrikh Mkhitaryan to fall back and take matters into his own hands. That, in turn, forced the Armenian away from the danger zone.
Liverpool did a great job in exposing Dortmund's weak spots, as they found an effective way to prevent the visitors' vertical attacks. Dortmund's creativity in midfield might improve with the return of Nuri Sahin, but the playmaker is struggling with a niggling knee injury.
All is not lost, though, as Sven Bender looked sharp again after his halftime substitution. With a bit more playing time, he should be back as a regular starter to help stabilise the defence.
Marcel Schmelzer needs to step it up a notch
This might annoy a few observers, but Marcel Schmelzer failed to impress and was outfoxed by Raheem Sterling a few times too many. Since the left-back had the full summer to get into form, more was expected from him.
BVB were exposed by Liverpool's wingers in general, which is Schmelzer's and Lukasz Piszczek's fault, but the left-back could have resolved a few issues with a bit more individual skill. Keeping in mind the battle for Dortmund's left-back position will be an interesting one between "Schmelle" and Erik Durm, the veteran isn't off to the brightest of starts.
A wake-up call at the right time
Just days before the season gets underway, Klopp got a detailed look at what still needs to be worked on. Considering Liverpool are one week ahead in their preseason preparations -- I've been told that's a lot -- he will have learned a few things about his team against a competitive side.
The BVB players had the chance to get back into the groove of football against a competitive side, and they will be better for it. There was also a reminder that set pieces have to be improved upon. Of course, there is little sense in set piece training if half the first team is still on holiday, but it's something that will have to improve in the weeks ahead.
Jonas Hofmann one of preseason's winners
In the absence of Jakub Blaszczykowski and Marco Reus, Jonas Hofmann made sure that he is a genuine option whenever Klopp needs to revitalise his attacking midfield. Even at Anfield, where BVB's attack wasn't really clicking, Hofmann found a way to impress with a few decent interventions.
The 22-year-old only found his way into Dortmund's first team last season but is developing into a reliable player. When Klopp tries out his interpretation of a highly flexible 4-4-2 system, Hofmann could impress. The versatility of the young player should help him to get a good chunk of playing time if he keeps his current form.