Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that goalkeeper Danny Ward's absence from a friendly clash with Tranmere Rovers was due to injury. James Milner, Marko Grujic, Pedro Chirivella and Ben Woodburn all netted on Wednesday (12 July) night as the Reds opened their pre-season account with a routine 4-0 victory over last season's beaten National League play-off finalists.
Loris Karius featured between the posts for 67 minutes at Prenton Park, while it was highly-rated Under-23 custodian Kamil Grabara - and not Ward or first-choice stopper Simon Mignolet - who subsequently took over and marked his first involvement with the senior side by maintaining a clean sheet.
Explaining the absences of that first-team duo after the match, Klopp revealed that both players had returned to Melwood later than their teammates following the summer break.
While Mignolet is believed to be fit, however, Ward is suffering from a back problem that prevented him from completing a training session.
"They came back later [than the other players], but Danny has a back problem and had to finish training this morning," Klopp told Liverpool's official website.
"But before the game, it was already clear that Simon and Wardy [would not play] and that Loris would play. That was clear. Simon and Danny should have trained [today], but Wardy could not do that."
Former Morecambe and Aberdeen loanee Ward is hoping to stake his claim for a starting spot at Liverpool over the coming weeks after enhancing his reputation massively during an impressive season-long stint at Huddersfield Town that concluded with him saving two penalties during the Terriers' successful play-off run.
With veteran Alex Manninger having retired following the end of his one-year contract, Liverpool rebuffed Huddersfield's attempts to re-sign Ward and Klopp recently insisted that all three of his goalkeepers would be given sufficient chance to prove themselves in pre-season before he makes a decision on who will start the 2017-18 campaign as number one.
In other Liverpool injury news, captain Jordan Henderson started against Tranmere and got 45 minutes under his belt on his first appearance since re-aggravating a persistent foot issue back in February. However, Sadio Mane missed out and will also not to travel to Hong Kong this weekend for the Premier League Asia Trophy as he continues to recover from surgery on a damaged meniscus suffered during April's Merseyside derby defeat of Everton.
Klopp claims the influential Senegalese forward, who will also not be involved against Wigan Athletic on Friday, is close to returning to training and will remain behind to work on his fitness.