Liverpool will give the first-team squad time off during the upcoming Premier League “winter break”, rather than head away for warm-weather training.
It has been the custom of Jurgen Klopp to take his squad away to the likes of Spain or Dubai during the season when the opportunity presents itself.
A few days away in a warmer climate, the boss has explained, offers benefits including a mental break, additional sunlight and encouraging the harmony within the team.
With this season being the first one with a winter break of sorts in the Premier League, it might have been expected that the Reds take the opportunity to repeat a process which has yielded positive results.
But instead, David Lynch reports for the Evening Standard, Klopp and his coaches will give the players a full week off training in recognition for their efforts so far this season.
Having seen off Everton with essentially a third-string team on the pitch, the Reds now face Shrewsbury away on January 26.
Win that—or lose, though hopefully that won’t be the outcome—and the squad will be handed a week-long break from training.
Of course, it could be the case that most of the regular starters are given that week anyway, with the FA Cup games kept for those who have missed out through injury or rotation, as well as the youngsters trying to break through.
But a win and no game at all would also allow Klopp and his coaches the opportunity to take a break and reassess their plans for the final third of the campaign.
While the winter break will allow the players to switch off away from Melwood, it won’t be the week’s holiday that most of us take from work: over-indulging with food or drink, not a single thought of the job and generally taking life easy.
Instead, it’s likely to be an extension of what captain Jordan Henderson explained earlier in the season: Klopp trusts his players to take care of themselves at home, allowing for easier work-life balances at key times.
The players will be able to head away for a holiday with the family, perhaps, or spend time in the sun with friends—but some fitness work will still play a role.
Looking at the longer-term picture, a week off mid-season could also have benefits for those playing at Euro 2020 this summer, with a short break meaning they won’t have to constantly be training and playing essentially from August 2019 right through to the end of next season, with only a single short summer break to recuperate in.