Jürgen Klopp is feeling bullish over his side’s upcoming Premier League campaign and hopes to build on the momentum of last season’s top four finish.
Liverpool have finally reconvened for pre-season! Well, some of the players anyway.
The first wave of 22 players returned to Melwood on Wednesday for their initial fitness and mobility tests, with the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne all in attendance.
While it was only day one of the clubs’ pre-season preparations, it hasn’t taken long for Klopp to feel “real optimism” about the upcoming campaign.
“It was a wonderful rest for all of us, absolutely deserved,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com at Melwood.
“I saw the boys this morning and I saw in their faces that they’re ready to go. So I’m ready to go. It’s cool. Of course, it’s not what they love most, it’s kind of a weird relationship (with pre-season), you don’t want to do it but you know it’s necessary so you do it. You feel bad before and you feel perfect afterwards.
“It’s the first step done. It’s good. It’s important for us to know from which point we can pick them in the next few weeks. They all look pretty much in a good shape.”
There will be more players pouring back through the doors in coming weeks, with the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Mohamed Salah and Adam Lallana all set to join back up with their teammates in the coming fortnight.
“The players with international games are not here and if they have two weeks off, I don’t call. It’s a holiday,” said Klopp.
“But when the training starts again and they have to do the plan, then we are always in contact. They have to send me messages after they did their session.
“All the players with international games, we were always in contact – because it’s important how they feel before and after the game. It’s not really work for me, I’m interested in it. I’ve had contact with all of them.”
A fairly busy pre-season schedule awaits the Reds over the next six weeks or so, with eight friendly matches scheduled to take place between next week and the start of the Premier League season.
Liverpool will play the bulk of those abroad in Hong Kong, Germany and Dublin but will kick off their in-match preparations domestically against Tranmere and Wigan next week.
Klopp will be hoping that the players give their all in these matches and really use them as best they can in an attempt to be completely raring to go by the time their opening day trip to Watford rolls around.
The German is confident that the Reds can build on the momentum created in their top four finish last campaign and that 2016/17 was just the beginning.
“We all know in a few weeks we have these qualifiers and there will be pressure on the game. But now we have the time to prepare this and we have to use the basis we created last year – it was not too bad. We all know it could have been maybe a little bit better but it could have been much worse.
“We are now one of the top four teams in England last season, so now we want to keep this situation and work with it and improve. The squad will be stronger this year than it was last year. That’s a real reason for real optimism.”