With nearly the full squad back training and available for selection, Liverpool have turned up the pace on pre-season preparations in the last few weeks and results on the pitch have followed suit, with a 4-1 victory over Manchester United and 5-0 drubbing of Napoli.
Despite the uptick in performances and results, manager Jürgen Klopp is eying the final game of pre-season this evening at Anfield against Torino knowing more needs to be done for his side to be ready for the 2018-19 Premier League season and West Ham.
“I saw a lot of things we have to improve,” Klopp said of his side’s last game, that victory over Napoli. “Not we should, we have to improve. Five-nil sounds really clear and it is clear, but we all saw in the first half they had a lot of moments where they were in our box.
“Being in our box three times alone in front of the goalkeeper should not happen. We were not compact enough in these situations. But football playing-wise, a lot of moments were really good. Now we need to get back the freshness, for one thing.”
Match fitness, sharpness, freshness. Liverpool have been good in pre-season, and many have noted how much more fit and sharp they have looked than their two most recent opponents, but Klopp has set the bar very high and is demanding more.
More against Torino—especially for the players who returned to pre-season late—and then more for the league opener, though with a full week off after it, Klopp says it may not be until the following match the entire squad gets to where he needs them to be.
“The other thing we still need to work on is endurance,” he added. “The boys are not all on the same level, you can see that. We need to play the first game, then we have another eight days because we play on Monday. That is another pre-season week.”