Pre-season is all about the fitness, and while it may not technically be pre-season at the moment, Liverpool’s friendlies in Dubai this week serve the same purpose as Jürgen Klopp seeks to gets his Reds back up to speed before the season restart.
On Sunday, a solid first half was followed by a weaker second as Klopp rung in the changes and the Reds fell 3-1 to Lyon but as the manager was quick to point out in his post-match press conference, at the end of the day, well, pre-season is all about fitness.
“Everything is good apart from the result today and parts of the performance,” he noted. “So far, we enjoyed it here. We stay another few more days, another game and all good because [we] had three weeks off and now we train for the players.”
It’s always better to win than lose, of course, but Klopp’s second half changes spoke to the real priority on Sunday which was getting minutes in for the established players and giving some youngsters a chance to show what they might be able to contribute.
“The start of the game from us was really good,” Klopp added. “I liked a lot of parts in the first half. Really aggressive, played well, good connected, could have scored a second one. Second half we had to change a lot and then we were really young.
“Let me say it like this, when we lost the ball then it ended up in front of our goal. Every ball we lost was a counter-attack and a big chance. That’s of course not how it should look but that’s a learning curve and we will use this game to learn from.”
Liverpool play their second friendly before the restart of club football when they take on AC Milan on Friday, with Klopp expected to give his more senior established stars a longer runout for that one and the kickoff set for 3:30PM GMT/10:30AM EST.