With Andy Robertson having picked up his first minutes of pre-season on Thursday evening, Kostas Tsimikas knows he has two weeks to keep hold of his place in the Liverpool starting XI.

The Greek has been part of this summer's training camp in Austria since day one, and has notably featured in the team closest to Jurgen Klopp's strongest when called upon in friendlies.

But, with the start of the new season so close, he now faces competition from arguably the best left-back in world football for a spot in the side.

Still, while staving off that challenge in the long-term is probably not a realistic aim, Tsimikas has every reason to feel he should keep his place for the first day of the season at least.

Robertson's return was delayed by Scotland's involvement in the group stages of Euro 2020, which extended an already gruelling season that saw him play almost every minute for Liverpool.

That lack of rotation was largely put down to injuries elsewhere in the Reds' backline, with Klopp reluctant to change things more than he already had to.

Meanwhile, the player who might have replaced him, Tsimikas, had issues of his own to face, suffering with Covid-19 and a knee injury during his debut campaign.

Fortunately, the defender has looked in best shape of his short Liverpool career during this pre-season, and will hope his reward is to hand Robertson some extra time off.

And, if that is not the case, then you wonder when his opportunities might come in a season that, like every other, will feature back-to-back must-win games from start to finish.

Liverpool sources insist Klopp plans to make more use of his squad this time around, something they believe will be more possible without injuries constantly disrupting defensive stability.

Of course, it remains difficult to ascertain the sincerity of such statements, not least because the ECHO understands that rumours of an approach from Napoli for Tsimikas are wide of the mark.

Although the player has shown no inclination to leave, were a club to come in with a decent permanent offer for the Greece international, would the Reds be minded to battle to keep someone who featured so little last term?

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Of course, should Tsimikas stay, it would be folly not to make use of him given that left-back is one of few positions in which Liverpool possesses a direct replacement for a first-teamer.

Yes, Klopp now has a wealth of options at centre-half, and Diogo Jota is a brilliant support act to Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, but other areas are not quite as blessed.

Neco Williams' future remains in doubt on the other defensive flank, while Liverpool are currently trying to turn to midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain into a backup for Roberto Firmino.

There are also question marks over the options in a midfield that has lost the reliable Gini Wijnaldum this summer.

In terms of addressing such shortcomings, much of the focus is on the Reds' need to enter the transfer market, and it is indeed vital that they act on that front in the coming weeks.

However, it is equally important that Klopp shows he is willing to make use of the depth in the parts of the squad where he already possesses it.

In that regard, Tsimikas' role in that first game of the season at Carrow Road is sure to provide timely insight.

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