It’s been a bumpy pre-season for Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool so far; thumping wins over Tranmere and Bradford lead into a series of less inspiring performances on the team’s US tour, culminating in an emphatic 3-0 loss to Napoli on Sunday. With only one friendly game to go before the season begins in earnest at the weekend, it is understandable that fretful fans have begun to worry about the side’s preparedness for the campaign ahead.
It should also be understandable, however, that, besides still getting up to speed on both tactics and fitness, the Liverpool teams that have made it onto the pitch this summer have missed four of the club’s five best players. Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Alisson Becker only joined in on training today, and Sadio Mané is not expected to return to England until next week. As such, thing are only likely to get better from here, particularly if we were to judge based on the enthusiasm of those now returning.
“I’m very happy to be back,” Alisson told the club’s official site. “I had nice holidays with the family, spending time with my family and friends, but I was missing the pitch, the lads, the staff, everyone – missing you guys, also!
“Now I am looking forward to coming back to play and starting to work again.
“[As a team] we are excited,” he continued. “But we have to keep our feet on the ground, just as we did last season. We want to try for everything this season, so we need to work.
“The level of the football is high and similar at every club, so we need to work hard to achieve the same things and achieve even more this season.”
Achieving even more — Alisson won both the Champions League and Copa America in the span of a month, two trophies his respective teams had gone 14 and 12 years since last winning — would be quite the accomplishment, and if Reds fans had their say, they’d likely be quite content to collect a single trophy next summer; that elusive Premier League title.
The former Roma man is entirely correct, though, that getting there will take hard work. As talented as this Liverpool squad is, the free-spending Manchester City remain favourites for every contest they enter, and Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs have strengthened in crucial areas this summer, indicating that the battle for first place will be tougher than ever.
That said, nobody in this squad is afraid of a little hard work.