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Robertson and Jota Could Return for Hertha Berlin Friendly

The duo’s integration comes as the squad edges ever-closer to match fitness ahead of the 2021/22 season opener.

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Andy Robertson, Diogo Jota and Neco Williams of Liverpool during a training session on July 26, 2021
Andy Robertson, Diogo Jota and Neco Williams of Liverpool during a training session on July 26, 2021
Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Manager Jürgen Klopp has confirmed that newly returned Diogo Jota and Andy Robertson could see minutes in the club’s next friendly against Hertha BSC this Thursday.

Both players returned to the Liverpool training camp after their post-Euros break earlier this week, and both have been taking part in team training sessions.

While this news is less dramatic than Klopp’s hint that Virgil Van Dijk might see his return to the game on Thursday, it’s good to see the continued reintegration of first team players and their return to match fitness ahead of the new season.

While Van Dijk will likely see limited minutes, Klopp noted that some players might get more than just 45 minutes on Thursday.

Speaking on the structured integration of newly returning and players who have had a bit more time in pre-season, Klopp emphasized his coaching team’s plan.

“Some of them are ready for 60 minutes, it will be hard for them definitely but it means then others play 30 minutes and stuff like this, or even maybe 20 minutes and these kind of things.

“We try. Pre-season is about trying, it’s a proper, proper challenge to make all these individuals to bring them in the best possible physical shape and make us more ready or stronger as a team. Unfortunately, football is not like cycling, so you don’t miss it completely but the pedals and stuff like this just go away so quick that’s incredible. So we have to work on that again, that’s what we do.

“Today is a really tough [double session]. I like it, the players probably sleep now already and that would be better because this afternoon it would be really hard.”

As for the game itself, Klopp explained to that preparation for pre-season games — along with the fitness-related goals of these games — obviously differ from those in the regular season.

I didn’t watch now Berlin, I don’t know which players they have available and stuff like this. They sold a striker, if I’m right, but I don’t know exactly. It’s pre-season, we don’t make an analysis before we play a pre-season game because part of the challenge is that you don’t know a lot about the opponent.

But it’s a good team and they both – Mainz and Berlin – fought for staying in the league. Obviously the financial resources in Berlin are completely different, it’s an interesting project what they have there and they have big dreams and big expectations but I don’t know about the team in the moment, but it’s not too important.

I know people probably outside think, ‘Yeah, it’s important, we have to play the football we want to play.’ We do that mainly in training but with the number of sessions we have, it’s completely normal... you need the games for plenty of reasons but it’s not for shining. It’s just for working through that.

I don’t like actually pre-season games when you win it four or five nil – it can be the first game but they have no real value because it can lead you on the wrong path and all these kind of things. Hard work, getting through it. Making mistakes is not my favorite thing to do but if you make it then it’s easier to work on it and it’s the best time to work on it and we can sort that until the season starts.

So, it will be a tough test definitely and we will see how we can get through it.

Unlike the rest of us, Jürgen might prefer to see a 1-1...

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