It feels like only yesterday the 2016-17 season was ending, and already today players began to return to the club for pre-season ahead of a season that will see Liverpool back in the Champions League, pushing for silverware across multiple competitions.
Players who spent time on international duty will continue to arrive over the coming weeks, but the core of the first team squad was back today along with manager Jürgen Klopp and the coaching staff, and the German was excited to get back to work.
“They’re ready to go, I’m ready to go, so it’s cool,” said Klopp following the first day of pre-season. “Of course it’s not what they love most—you don’t want to do it but you know it’s necessary—so you feel bad before but you feel perfect afterwards.”
The players will spend just a week training before the first pre-season game, against Tranmere on Wednesday the 12th. They then face Wigan on the 14th before heading to Hong Kong to compete in the Asia Trophy and then Germany for the Audi Cup.
Friendlies against Hertha Berlin to celebrate the fact both clubs are 125 years old this year and then against Athletic Bilbao in their final pre-season match on August 5th round out the schedule before they kick off the season against Watford.
A week to go until the first pre-season friendly, then, and a month until the last. Then, after kicking off their league campaign on the 12th of August, they play the first leg of their Champions League qualifier mid-week on the 15th or 16th.
“It’s the first step done,” Klopp added. “It’s good. We know that in a few weeks we have these qualifiers and there will be pressure, but for now we have time to prepare for this and we have to uses the basis we created last year. It was not too bad.
“We know it could have been maybe a little bit better but it could have been worse. We are now one of the top four teams in England, so we want to keep this situation and work with it and improve.”