It feels rather like it was only a month ago that Liverpool were busy in Madrid winning the Champions League and then back in Liverpool celebrating winning the Champions League. Because it was. Or at least not much more than that.
Already, though, it’s pre-season. Another year of football is on the horizon, with a first friendly warm-up match set for Thursday against Tranmere Rovers. Already, the games are back. Already, it’s time for Liverpool to go again.
At least starting out, though, there will be a lot of unfamiliar faces for Liverpool fans tuning in. Manager Jürgen Klopp, though, says that’s just how it goes in pre-season—and while it may be a problem to solve, it’s also an opportunity.
“That’s how it is,” Klopp said. “Problems in football are only there to find a solution and in pre-season you have a lot of problems and always try to find the solution, so we will do our best. We are only five days in training, a lot of players are not here.
“A lot of kids will be involved, that’s clear. How it always is, it’s not about the result but it’s about the performance and all the boys starting or coming on on Thursday will wear a Liverpool shirt and they have to behave like that.
“The work-rate must be as high as possible on the day. With heavy legs, still try to do your best. That’s the reason for pre-season: to get a bit of rhythm. In the first game that will be difficult, but step by step [you] get a bit of rhythm.”
The players won’t be at full fitness, and there will be a lot of academy players—players trying to do what they can to impress enough to keep playing as the first team stars return and then, maybe, to earn their own first team place.
It’s a problem, perhaps. But mostly it’s an opportunity, and with Tranmere on Thursday and then Bradford City on Sunday, the players will have two chances to impress and earn their way onto the USA pre-season tour squad.
“We have a very young group here,” Klopp added. “ So it will be interesting, and maybe the subs at least will be very, very young.”