Jack Hallows analyses the effects of Liverpool’s gruelling pre-season fitness sessions and the work of Andreas Kornmayer and Mona Nemmer.
Liverpool have made a habit of scoring a lot of first half goals this season and getting off to a flying start, in fact, they’ve scored a grand total of 21 in the first half of Premier League matches this season. However, it’s been their ability to kill games off late exhibiting at times both defensive resilience and late attacking bursts resulting in goals that has really impressed this season.
In an interview with the club’s official website a few weeks back, Jordan Henderson was full of praise for new recruits Andreas Kornmayer and Mona Nemmer who were brought in during the summer as heads of fitness and nutrition respectively. The skipper revealed how highly the entire squad thought of the pair and praised their attention to detail, especially when it comes to the diet plans and strict food intake monitoring from Nemmer.
The Reds were put through their paces heavily in pre-season, with Kornmayer and Klopp devising a plan that saw the Reds put in up to three gruelling training sessions per day and the results are paying off. The Reds have looked sharper, fitter and quicker than many teams they’ve come up against this season with the second half at Arsenal on the opening day being a prime example. Wenger bemoaned that his team were “not ready,” for the encounter, while the Reds were moving as freely and quickly as if they were into the middle of a season already.
This advantage over other sides has been proven to be huge against other, smaller sides too. Teams like Watford, Swansea, Everton and Sunderland have all come out hoping to tire the Reds and snatch late goals. They conceded a total of 11 between them with all four conceding beyond the 75th minute as the relentless Reds wore them down without so much as breaking a sweat.
Even against sides like Manchester United where the Reds have failed to take all three points – having to settle for a draw – the results of this fitness training have been evident. The Reds have been mentally stronger on most occasions this season and this can also be attributed to fresher legs as mental and physical exhaustion often go hand in hand.
While most teams who look fresh by the latter stages of games can attribute this down to not putting in the hard yards and refusing to run large amounts over the course of the 90 minutes, Liverpool’s distance covered statistics are nothing short of impressive. Adam Lallana has frequently been setting new records for distance covered in a single 90 minute stint before going on to break them just weeks later while Jordan Henderson doesn’t seem to allow a single blade of grass to go uncovered whenever he plays and either side of him Milner and Clyne don’t seem to ever stop moving.
Then there’s the front three. Many front lines in the Premier League are attributed with being slightly lazy with the likes of Aguero, Costa, Ibrahimovic and Lukaku – all fantastic forwards don’t get me wrong – being given this label. Firmino, Coutinho, Mane and Origi, however, are everywhere. They press, they hound, they track back before getting forward again. It’s honestly amazing and the fitness levels in the squad are such that you don’t even begin to question whether they can keep it up for an entire season because you know very well that yes, they can. It may not be an area that is as glamorous as the goals scored or the clean sheets kept columns but the Reds extra fitness gives them an edge. An edge that may just win them silverware this season.