The preseason tour can be hard for a lot of reasons. There’s the travel, the weather, the missing players, and of course the games themselves. It’s a big learning experience for every player that gets to go along, and while there’s plenty that have been through these sometimes grueling trips before, the focus is always the same: get back to business, often in some of the most difficult conditions the team will experience through their season.
This is far from Andy Robertson’s first go around on the Liverpool preseason train, and not even his first time on the American east coast in a Red shirt. And following an unexpectedly scrappy pre-season test against Sevilla, we had the opportunity to speak with Liverpool’s left back about the process, who says the focus for him is on fitness and getting back into fighting form—and finding ways to improve on last season.
“I think this season we’ll improve,” Robertson said when asked about the pressure to keep up the same level of intensity. “That’s what we want to do, we want to improve over the time that we are together. We’ve improved every season under this manager, and now we need to do that this season. We need to get our full squad back to full fitness and the lads back from vacation, and then we’ll be in a lot better place, but we’re on the right track and it’s all about fitness at this time.”
The Sevilla game on Sunday unfortunately ended in a 2-1 loss, and not a pretty one at that, but it remains early in the preseason and the focus for Robertson and the rest of the squad is to get back to the form that helped carry them to 97 points and a historic sixth European Cup (and saying that part never gets old) last season. Asked about what he hopes to take from the preseason trials, Robertson was optimistic about the team and what they’ll learn from these struggles.
“We’re just trying to get our touch back and our rhythm back and fitness of course, but it’s all about trying to combine it into one,” he said. “You know if you can play in these scenes and be in these scenes, then you can probably play in anything. Just try to get sharpness because we’re just a wee bit off that now and we need to try get up to that. Once we do I’m sure you’ll see a lot better football from us.”
It was brutal football weather in Fenway Park on Sunday, with temperatures hovering around 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the high humidity only making it feel worse. The team unfortunately struggled at times as a result, but that’s what the preseason is about—going through these trials and facing difficult opponents as you work to build your strength back for the new season. After shaking off some rust, at least, and thankfully in conditions the players are unlikely to experience again in the upcoming campaign.