With the return of Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana today, all of Liverpool’s players bar Emre Can are now back in pre-season training. They’re doing a lot of running. Jürgen Klopp’s three-a-day sessions have meant long days and tired players. And a lot of running.
“I’m happy to be back but I hate pre-season because it’s a lot of running!” Gini Wijnaldum joked with the club’s official website following his own return to the club this week. “It’s really hard and you don’t enjoy it because you want to play with the ball, but you have pre-season to get fit and that’s what you have to do.”
It may not be fun, but this year, that preparation is even more important, and Wijnaldum knows it. This year, there’s both the league and then Champions League to look forward to in just a little over a month. There are big games on the horizon and not a lot of time to get ready for them.
“You look forward to playing in the highest competition I think in the world,” the midfielder noted. “You can see where you stand as a team, how good you are. I’m really excited. It’s the highest competition because you play against the best and the biggest teams in Europe.”
As for the role he’s hoping for, both in Europe and the league, for Wijnaldum it comes down to goals. There may be other things he does to help the team as a midfielder, but for the player, it’s scoring goals that’s the most satisfying way of summing up any of the contributions he makes.
“I had a good debut season, but of curse I want to do better,” he added. “I scored six, and they were six important goals, so that was also good. But the most important thing is that we win games, and if I can help the team by scoring goals, it’ll make me happy.”