Though more known for the hard running demands of his three-a-day pre-season training sessions, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has decided that after his side secured first place in the Premier League heading into the November international break, something of an actual break for his players was in order.
At least for the first teamers remaining at Anfield and not off on international duty—a group including the likes of Loris Karius, Jöel Matip Dejan Lovren, James Milner, Lucas Leiva, and Emre Can—it will be an unusually quiet mid-season week for them. Youth and reserve players will continue to train.
It’s an approach Klopp acknowledges he didn’t take while in Germany, where all clubs had a mid-winter break. Adjusting to the lack of one, and looking to give his team chances to get away from football during the season, has been something he admits he’s figured out is necessary during his first year in charge.
“When I came here the players had a few days off,” Klopp noted. “I changed it and said, ‘How can they have three or four days off or something?’ It was a silly decision. It was only because I was not used to it. Now we are proper English coaches—we know about the intensity of the next few months.”
For the first team regulars, it means a return to what past Liverpool managers have done and actively looking for chances to give his team the kind of breaks that are built into the schedules of other major European leagues. Not that the players will be expected to spend the week eating and carousing.
“Each possibility for a little break, you have to use it,” Klopp added. “They still have a programme to train and stay fit. Not all of them can go wherever they want because if you’re a bit injured you have to be here. But a real training session does not make sense. A few days off and then we'll start again.”