Liverpool are nearly done their first week of pre-season training, and with the team heading to Bangkok on Sunday, it’s fair to say preparations for 2015-16 are well under way. The first pre-season match isn’t until Tuesday, but already it won’t be long until the games are for real, with the first match of the season a month away on August 9th.
It’s a short pre-season, then, ahead of an early start due to their being no World Cup or Euros this summer. And for the new signings like James Milner, that means they don’t have long to settle in and get comfortable with their new teammates. However, the veteran midfielder believes that heading out on tour, where they’ll be spending every waking minute together as a group, will speed up the process.
"It is an important time regardless, but especially as a new player coming in and for new signings," said Liverpool’s new number seven. "You are only together for two weeks but I think because you spend that much time training and travelling, and you are with each other for every minute of the day, you feel like you have known your teammates for months rather than just weeks, spending that much time together.
"It’s an important time for new signings but also just as a team as well, players coming in and getting used to how to play with each other. You want that base fitness and getting that confidence and, touch wood, coming through it with no injuries. It is a really important time and a time that the whole season is based on."
Heading off to the opposite side of the globe can also help to drive home just how widespread the support for a club like Liverpool is. Milner has experienced some of that already with Manchester City, but he’s expecting things to be on another level with Liverpool, and is looking forward to checking off Australia on the list of far-flung places where he’s played football.
"It's just Australia really that I haven't done pre-season, so it's good to go to these places and see the fans," said Milner. "Obviously we've got a big following in England, but you don't realise how many people watch the Premier League every single week until you go out there and see the fans. You don't realise the magnitude of how many people watch the Premier League in America and in the Far East and these sorts of places.
"So to go out there and see how crazy they are about their football teams—even though they are so far away and the support they give and probably staying up until silly o'clock in the morning to watch the games—it shows you how big and well watched the Premier League is and how important your role is to so many people around the world."