Jurgen Klopp has had to turn down a request from his captain to come back to Liverpool early following his World Cup exploits with England.
Eight of Klopp’s squad from last season—plus new signing Xherdan Shaqiri—were on international duty in Russia over the summer.
Four of those reached the semi-finals and thus are due to report back latest, around August 5-6, after a three-week break.
But Klopp has now acknowledged that England duo Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold have both requested to come back to pre-season training earlier—and the boss has had to step in to ensure they both get time to recover.
Henderson will not return any earlier than expected, reports Chris Bascombe of the Telegraph, after Klopp insisted he took the full three-week break.
The same could yet apply to Trent Alexander-Arnold, but the right-back—being younger and in an earlier physical development stage—is also unlikely to feature at the start of the season, says Klopp.
It was a hard fight to convince [Henderson] that he needed a holiday. I knew it would happen.
On the phone I said ‘crazy’. Jordan needs a holiday so that means August 5 he will be back.
Dejan [Lovren] had a party in Croatia and played a day later so he will be back on August 6. That would mean five days training after three weeks holiday.
I hope we are in a situation where we don’t need to think about using these two [against West Ham].
With Trent I have a special agreement. He wanted to be in earlier as well. As he’s very young I said, ‘Okay, have two weeks holiday and then we’ll speak and see’. If you asked Trent he would be good to join us in two weeks.
But I’m not sure I will do that. I want to have them desperately but the season is really long. It will be difficult to involve them against West Ham but I don’t want to make that line-up today.
Klopp also denied that new signings would make those players fearful for their future, acknowledging that being part of the World Cup squads showcased their qualities.
“That would mean they weren’t confident and that makes no sense.
“Hendo believes 100 per cent in training. He feels like he needs training every day, a bit like Millie (James Milner). They are old-fashioned professionals, which I like.
“Sometimes the manager has to say, ‘Stop! Make a break!’
“They shouldn’t be worried about anything like that because we’ll need them all. Trent was flying. He could probably play three years in a row but that wouldn’t make sense.”
The Reds have cover in both positions thanks to the availability of the likes of Nathaniel Clyne, Joe Gomez and Fabinho, with Naby Keita another arrival in midfield this summer.