Joël Matip is hopeful that the extended break (and Jürgen Klopp’s preseason) will allow him to return to “peak fitness” ahead of the 2021/22 season.
The player’s quick recovery from the ankle ligament injury that saw him bow out of the previous campaign has allowed him to join preseason training from week one, which is a good sign.
Matip spoke to Liverpoolfc.com about his hopes for the coming season.
“I’m feeling good. It’s nice to be back in training with the lads and to just be playing, playing [with] the ball and being active.”
I feel really good at the moment. I have a lot of sessions ahead of me but I am feeling good and I hope to continue like this.
Training camps are always intense but for these moments we are here and these belong to pre-season and we try to enjoy it.”
The defender welcomes the fitness challenges that are always a part of Klopp’s preseason routines as the manager aims to maximize his squad’s physical preparedness for a difficult Premier League campaign ahead.
Matip spoke, too, about just how good it is to be back with the team for his own attitude and experience.
“If you always train on your own it is quite hard for the head but if you are back with the team and can play, and also make jokes, that always helps.”
You are really looking forward to the moment when you are in between them [again]. It’s funny to be around them and you laugh a lot more than when you are on your own!”
While his injury was quite a blow to a Liverpool team lacking in central defenders last season, Matip also spared some words for the young centerbacks who stepped up in his absence during a trying time for the team.
“It was not a really good period for me, a lot of injuries, but I only can look forward and try to do my best and try to get in the best shape I can.
“They did great! They were thrown in and their performance was really great, especially under this kind of pressure. They did really, really well.”
The best thing about the preseason images we’ve seen so far is certainly seeing Matip, among the other injured 2020/21 players, back out with the side.