Liverpool are set to begin to pre-season preparations on Saturday in what is likely to present Jurgen Klopp with an unprecedented scenario since his appointment in 2015: the availability of his entire squad.
Congested fixture lists and international commitments have typically meant that Klopp has in the past had to begin the new season without a selected group of his key assets.
On numerous occasions, several first-team players have been competing in international tournaments while their club teammates were sunning it up on their holidays.
Indeed, it was a situation Liverpool were forced into ahead of their Premier League-winning campaign last season
Sadio Mane only returned to the first-team set-up 16 days before Liverpool’s first competitive game in the Community Shield last August after the Senegalese ace endured a previous campaign that lasted 342 days.
Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Fabinho also returned late due to their Copa America success with Brazil last year.
For Alisson, his involvement in the tournament ultimately hindered Liverpool in the long-term after such continued action resulted in a lengthy ankle injury that kept the Brazilian for the best part of three months during the Reds’ inaugural PL match against Norwich City.
However, this time around the landscape has changed completely and Klopp will have all his English champions ready at his disposal.
Compared to rivals such as Manchester City and Manchester United, Liverpool have time on their side and can begin preparations for next season’s title defence before their aforementioned rivals’ current campaigns have even concluded.
Having the entire cohort of Klopp’s record-breaking squad will immediately hand Liverpool a boost as well as another determining factor with players and staff not subjected to appearances for sponsors, open training sessions or media duties as the ongoing global pandemic made the idea of a pre-season tour all-but redundant.
Klopp, however, is still expected to take his Liverpool squad to France for another pre-season training camp, despite the Reds not being able to play any overseas friendlies.
That is according to reports from reliable journalist James Pearce of The Athletic, who reports that “there will be no pre-season tour or lucrative friendlies played overseas” although a training camp is planned as long as no new travel restrictions are introduced in the coming week.
Closed-door friendlies are also expected to the norm in the coming weeks with Tranmere a likely option having been opponents in each of the last four pre-seasons, and could be called upon again.
Bury, Fleetwood, Chester, Wigan and Blackburn have also be considered.
Community Shield date
Liverpool’s FA Community Shield clash has been confirmed for Saturday, 29 August meaning the club’s maiden bout of the campaign will see them face-off against Mikel Arteta’s FA Cup winners Arsenal.
The Wembley affair will precede the beginning of the 2020/21 Premier League season which has been scheduled to commence from September 12.
International competitions such as the Nations League group stages have also been squeezed into the upcoming chaotic schedule in addition to other international friendlies will take place from August 31 to September 8, leaving returning players only a handful of days to recover.
This will directly affect the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Neco Williams, Georgino Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi who will all likely be competing.
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