“The freshness is coming back” – Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool can hit ground running at Watford

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Jurgen Klopp believes his Liverpool side are ready for a bright start to the season when they travel to take on Watford in their Premier League opener.

The Reds made the trip to Vicarage Road on Saturday, as they kick off the 2017/18 campaign against Marco Silva’s new-look Hornets side.

Klopp is likely to be without Nathaniel Clyne, Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge as they recover from injury problems, while Jordan Henderson could be a doubt, too.

This highlights the essential rigours of Liverpool’s pre-season, as Klopp prepared his side for the season ahead.

But speaking on Wednesday, Klopp believes “the freshness is back” after an eight-game summer schedule.

“We are in a good shape. The players are in a good mood, attitude in all the training sessions really good,” he told reporters at Melwood.

“Okay, a few little injuries and one bad one [for Lallana], but there are always barriers you need to jump over.

“We showed it [against Athletic Bilbao] in Dublin again that everything is in a good way. Now we need to deliver and we are ready for it.

“The freshness is coming back and it’s good we have these few days coming up. I’m excited about the start of the new season.”

HONG KONG, CHINA - Friday, July 21, 2017: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during a training session at the Mong Kok Stadium during the Premier League Asia Trophy 2017. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds trip to Hertfordshire is clearly the focus at this stage, but a defining Champions League play-off against Hoffenheim is undoubtedly looming.

Over two legs, Liverpool can seal the fate of their campaign, as they look to return to Europe’s elite after finishing fourth in the Premier League last season.

But Klopp continued to stress that he is solely looking toward Saturday against Watford, as his “first target.”

“When we finished last season in fourth position everyone was really happy about it,” he added.

“We knew there would be a qualification game and now it’s coming up. But the first challenge we have to face is Watford.

“Everyone is thinking about the Champions League qualifier but Watford is the first target. We have a few more days to prepare for this game.”

Progressing beyond Hoffenheim and into the Champions League group stage could provide Liverpool with an invaluable boost, for example in their efforts to sign Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk.

But Klopp is right to set his sights on Watford first, as the Reds will need to be strong in all four competitions this season.

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