Back when I was a college student, I made a rather poor assumption that I could study anywhere. So, I went to the little quad, opened up my books, and tried to read in the middle of a rather busy thoroughfare for students walking to and from classes. Unsurprisingly, it did not go well and, after taking 15 minutes to read two paragraphs, I re-located to a quiet study room at our library. Sometimes, you just need to shut the door and get away from the noise to get some work done.
This past week, Jurgen Klopp brought Liverpool Football Club back to Marbella, Spain - site of the mini-training camp earlier this year - to do precisely that: get away from the noise. Asked by reporters about his choice, the gaffer said the following:
“It’s about being together, having nothing else to do and not thinking about anything else – and then having a little rest.
“We have a few things to do. We have time to prepare for the game, which we want to do. We have time to recharge our batteries, and that’s what we’ll do. We’re in a very nice surrounding, but we’re not here because of the weather – it was not the reason to say we don’t go to the south because the weather in England has been good as well – but too many things; too many people want too many things from us in the moment.
“Here, we can close the door when we are in the hotel or on the training ground – and that’s the reason we’re here.”
It’s nice to see Klopp take such considerations into his preparations for the match. One could see a boss wanting the entire trip to be about work and putting one’s nose to the grindstone. But another thing I learned while a college student is that there is an absolute ceiling to how much studying one can and should do in preparation for an exam. It’s the same with any line of work: you have to balance work and frivolity. Or, as a famous Stanley Kubrick film indicates, things don’t really work out.
At Marbella, the lads will likely have the opportunity to prepare and focus without the intense scrutiny and interruptions found in and around Liverpool as the city revels in this big event. More, they’ll get the chance to soak things all up. Because while this squad is certainly built to win moving forward, it’s not every year that your team ends up in a Champions League Final.
Enjoy the time in Marbella, lads. We’ll keep the lights on for you when you return.