Most of Liverpool’s players have only been back in training for a little more than a week. For some, like new signing Darwin Núñez and superstar Mohamed Salah, they’ve only joined up when the squad landed in Thailand at the start of the week.
As much as everyone involved might always rather win, in that light—and when playing three outfield groups against an opponent a week further into their pre-season playing a passable first choice eleven—sometimes it really is just about fitness.
“Obviously the game came a little bit too early for us, for some of our boys,” manager Jürgen Klopp noted after Tuesday’s 4-0 pre-season loss to Manchester United. “We saw a lot of good things, but in the decisive moments we were not.
“That’s it pretty much. The most important thing now after the game, even when I hate losing, everybody has 30 minutes in their legs now, for some on the third day of training, so now we can work with that and will work with that.”
The biggest disappointment for Klopp is perhaps less that Liverpool didn’t win a pre-season friendly and more that the circumstances meant they couldn’t put on a better show for the locals who came out to support them in Bangkok.
At the end of the day, though, every Liverpool fan at the stadium and watching around the world will take a poor pre-season result if it helps the team to get ready for the games that actually matter in the league, Europe, and domestic cups.
“I know football is a results game and we do it all for that, but we have to prepare for a full season,” Klopp added. “We had no chance to prepare for this game, really, so we had to do it like we did it with three teams, three times 30 minutes.
“We are eight days training with a big group and the internationals it’s three days. That’s it and we go from here, but of course I would have loved to have shown the people here a few goals. The chances were there, we didn’t use them, that’s it.”