Liverpool Tour All About the Team Building

I assume no one is upset by the frequency with which I choose this photo. Go team! - Laurence Griffiths

A pre-season tour may be sold to fans as being a way for the club to give back, but at its most basic it's also an opportunity for players new and old to get to know each other on and off the pitch.

Liverpool departed yesterday on their Pacific Rim tour and while there is no confirmation yet as to whether or not the club's resident robot Martin Skrtel has done battle with any gargantuan deep sea creatures, the gaffer has made his own blockbuster priorities clear for the twelve day trip abroad.

"Some clubs will come back for pre-season and then they'll go away straight away [on tour]," Brendan Rodgers said. "But I felt it was important, especially with the amount of travelling that we are doing, that we built a real good fitness base here [back home], because that is the main objective in pre-season - to get your football fitness. The players have worked extremely hard in this opening period and they looked sharp in the game on Saturday, considering it is still early days in pre-season.

"So we go into the next phase now, which is travelling and playing three games while we are away, and we get the chance to come away from Liverpool and go into a different environment. And that always gives players the opportunity to bond with their teammates and you always find out something new about players when you go away, and it's normally positive. So that's the part I'm looking forward to."

Team building was also on the mind of Rodgers' captain, who paid a bit of lip service to the fans about the importance of the club giving back to avid supporters who rarely get an opportunity to see their favourites in person, but seemed more animated about getting to spend some time with the kids and showing them the ropes.

"All the lads are excited and can't wait to get over there," said Steven Gerrard. "It's one of the roles you have as captain, not just for myself but also for all the experienced lads. We've got a great group of young and old and we all stick together and look after each other. The young lads look after the oldies and the oldies look after the young'uns! We've got a great team spirit and that will continue."

Captain Adorable Fantastic will start out the tour missing a couple of oldies and one young'un, though, as Confederations Cup participants Pepe Reina, Luis Suarez, and Sebastian Coates won't join up with the rest of the squad until later on the tour. There's still some speculation as to whether or not Suarez will show up for duty at all or if he'll have made a very unlikely connection with Arsenal somewhere over southeast Asia on their own pre-season tour.

As much as the tour seems like a very commercial and, hopefully, a financially lucrative exercise, it is first and foremost a chance for Brendan Rodgers to shape his new squad into a team capable of making a challenge for Champions League football or a few deep runs in the domestic cups. New recruits are allegedly still incoming, but with the core of the senior team on the tour from the beginning and with the bulk of the players not having to adjust to a new manager and new system, the feeling of optimism that the club will hit the ground running in a month's time doesn't feel misplaced.

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