Liverpool defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez made their long-awaited returns from injury as substitutes in a 4-3 friendly loss against Hertha Berlin on Thursday.
Van Dijk had not featured since a clash with Jordan Pickford in October’s Merseyside derby left him needing anterior cruciate ligament surgery on his right leg.
Centre-back partner Gomez had experienced a similar spell on the sidelines, having also suffered a knee injury.
Jurgen Klopp eased the pair back into action, bringing them on for 20-minute cameos in the Reds’ final pre-season game in Austria.
Liverpool may well have been grateful for the defensive pairing earlier, given they fell two goals behind courtesy of strikes from Santiago Ascacibar and Suat Serdar.
Sadio Mane and Takumi Minamino restored parity before Stevan Jovetic’s brace gave Hertha a two-goal advantage once again.
Gomez was cautioned before Netherlands captain Van Dijk saw his header saved, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain finished for Liverpool’s third following up.
Diogo Jota and Andrew Robertson also appeared for the first time in pre-season as they both came off the bench for the Reds.
Speaking to LFCTV before Thursday’s clash, Klopp confirmed that Liverpool will take on Bologna in two hour-long friendlies at a training camp in France.
“It’s now the last game in Austria, then we go to France, we have two 60-minute games against Bologna there,” Klopp said.
“Then we get home – finally, Anfield is calling! We’re getting closer. The season is not too far away anymore, so we should be better prepared.”