When Liverpool signed Ragnar Klavan, the assumption was that the veteran defender was arriving from Augsburg to be Liverpool’s emergency depth; to be the club’s new Kolo Toure. After a standout showing on the club’s pre-season tour of the United States, some are beginning to ask if he could be more than that.
With Jöel Matip and Mamadou Sakho both out of the picture due to injury, it has fallen to Klavan to take on a key role for his new club in pre-season, and at this point it seems almost certain that he will be the one starting alongside Dejan Lovren when Liverpool open the season against Arsenal on August 14th.
“I’m satisfied with this training camp,” said the club’s newest centre half as he and his teammates prepared to return to England for the final two weeks of preparation ahead of the coming season. “Not the result [against Roma], of course, but we trained a lot. That was our main focus. It wasn’t just a US tour where we just play.”
The games have been part of those preparations, but the players have continued their two- and three-a-day training sessions in America, along with taking part in various outreach functions meant to engage the overseas fanbase. It’s been a busy trip; it’s been hard work. And the players looked tired by the time they faced Roma.
In the end, though, it’s all meant to build towards Arsenal, not towards a friendly against Roma on August 1st. The hard work of pre-season is all about results in the months to come, not about results this week. To that end, Klavan is feeling good. He’s also feeling good about his budding partnership with Lovren.
“Everything in this area is going good,” he added. “My teammates are really nice guys, helping me a lot. Dejan as well is helping me to settle in on the field. I’m slowly getting used to it. It’s a different style than it was in the Bundesliga, but you adapt to it in training, [and] I’m slowly getting there.”