Liverpool players have already begun their preparations for Saturday’s trip to Vicarage Road where the Premier League champions-elect will face a struggling Watford.

Nigel Pearson’s side proved to be a tough team to break down when the two sides faced off in the reverse fixture in December. Mohamed Salah bagged a brace as Liverpool proved too hot to handle for the London outfit.

While there were notable absentees from the first training session following Liverpool’s dramatic 3-2 victory against West Ham on Monday including club-captain Jordan Henderson and Takumi Minamino, the majority of senior players were all available to take part at Melwood on Wednesday.

Here is a look at four things we learned from the training photos…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 26: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Takumi Minamino and Luis Longstaff of Liverpool during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on February 26, 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Luis Longstaff earns a call-up to the first team

Liverpool youngster Luis Longstaff was amongst the first-team session at Melwood.

The teenager, who turned 19 on Monday, is an exciting winger who arrived at Liverpool from Newcastle United in 2015. He was previously with the north-east outfit from U9 level.

Longstaff made an instant impact following his move to Merseyside after he came off the bench on his Liverpool debut to score a memorable equaliser away to Manchester United.

The talented youngster also player a prominent role in Liverpool’s FA Youth Cup-winning campaign where the young Reds secured their first triumph in the competition since 2007 following the dramatic penalty shootout victory over Manchester City in the final.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 26: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Takumi Minamino of Liverpool during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on February 26, 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Minamino looking to force his way into Jurgen Klopp’s plans

January signing Takumi Minamino was in excellent spirits despite not featuring in the victory against the Hammers on Monday.

The Japan international is yet to feature for the Reds since starting against Shrewsbury Town in the 2-2 FA Cup fourth-round stalemate last month.

 

Minamino has made just one Premier League appearance for Liverpool since joining from RB Salzburg after coming off the bench at Molineux during the Reds’ 2-1 victory against Wolves where the playmaker was handed a top-flight baptism of fire after replacing Sadio Mane in the first-half following a hamstring injury to the Senegalese ace.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 26: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Mohamed Salah and Fabinho of Liverpool during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on February 26, 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Salah in good spirits amid Real Madrid links

According to the Daily Express, Real Madrid are reportedly plotting a summer swoop for Salah with Los Blancos looking to offload injury-prone attacker Gareth Bale, whose move to China fell through last year.

Salah, 27, has been in irresistible form for the European champions this season. The Egypt international has clocked up 36 appearances in all competitions this season for Liverpool and is the club’s top-scorer this season with 19 goals – he has also registered nine assists.

The former AS Roma star has become one of the great attacking superpowers in world football following three years of unparalleled success at Anfield.

In 97 matches, Salah has 68 goals and 24 assists to his name. More notably, he missed just five fixtures from a possible 102. None of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Robert Lewandowski – not even Messi – has proven more durable in that period.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 26: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Leighton Clarkson and Sepp van den Berg of Liverpool during a train ing session at Melwood Training Ground on February 26, 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Young Reds still getting chances

Despite first-team opportunities seemingly limited at Anfield following such unprecedented success from Klopp’s record-breaking first-team, the manager is still showcasing his desire to integrate youth into the senior programme.

Sepp van den Berg, Jake Cain and Leighton Clarkson were all involved with the senior players with each of the aforementioned trio playing a pivotal role in the U23’s success this season.

Both Van den Berg and Clarkson came off the bench during the young Reds’ 6-0 victory against Sunderland on Monday which included a six-minute hat-trick from captain Curtis Jones.

All three players started in Liverpool’s incredible 1-0 victory against Shrewsbury Town earlier this month.

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