Fitness tests & Klopp hugs all round as Liverpool return to pre-season

Members of Liverpool’s squad reconvened at Melwood for their first day of pre-season, and it was a mix of hugs and fitness tests for the Reds.

A host of faces returned to Melwood on Saturday as the champions of Europe kicked off their preparations for the 2019/20 season.

Jurgen Klopp was without a number of key members of his squad as a staggered return to training saw only a handful of senior players present on the first day.

Those who were called up for international duty over the summer will return at a later date and that includes the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Gini Wijnaldum, Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

While Roberto Firmino, Alisson, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane were also absent due to their respective involvement in the Copa America or Africa Cup of Nations.

Klopp still had a number of players to work with, however, as the 16 players present were split into three groups for a plethora of assessments which saw them take to the pitch and the indoor-outdoor training area.

James Milner led the first group for lactate testing, alongside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joe Gomez, Adam Lallana, Joel Matip and Fabinho.

The Reds’ younger brigade then took centre-stage as Rhian Brewster, Nat Phillips, Ki-Jana Hoever, Harry Wilson and Ryan Kent were next in line for the gruelling endurance test, with Nathaniel Clyne also present.

Curtis Jones, Ben Woodburn, Anderson Arroyo and the club’s newest addition Sepp van den Berg rounded off the third group.

Before the players got stuck into their fitness tests it was hugs all around as players and coaches were all reunited for the first time since the Reds’ Champions League triumph.

It was particularly uplifting to see Oxlade-Chamberlain back in the mix from the off as he looks to build back to full match fitness after a number of cameos towards the end of last season.

He, and Klopp, also took time to greet Van den Berg on his first official day at the club.

It was a relatively straightforward, albeit physically demanding, day for Liverpool’s players as they gear up for seven pre-season fixtures prior to their Community Shield meeting with Man City.

Klopp’s side will waste no time in donning the red shirt, however, as two domestic friendlies against Tranmere Rovers and Bradford City await in the next eight days.

A number of Liverpool’s senior players will then return before making their way to the United States for a three-stop tour which sees them face off against Borussia Dortmund (Notre Dame), Sevilla (Boston) and Sporting CP (New York).

Napoli then awaits in Edinburgh before a training camp in France which will see the Reds play Lyon on July 31 in Geneva.

Liverpool’s Squad on Day One of Pre-Season

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, May 28, 2019: Liverpool's club crest on the wall at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Defenders: Gomez, Matip, Clyne, Phillips, Hoever, Van den Berg, Arroyo

Midfielders: Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Fabinho, Woodburn, Jones

Forwards: Brewster, Kent, Wilson