Klopp hints at fourth pre-season friendly as he looks for Liverpool to win mental battle

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Jurgen Klopp is not expecting his side to be firing on all cylinders throughout pre-season fixtures but is eager to make the most of the Reds’ rare training block as a full squad.

The Reds will kick-off their pre-season friendly schedule against Stuttgart on Saturday evening (5pm BST) near their training base in Saalfelden, Austria.

It is the first of three confirmed matches, with outings against Salzburg (August 25) and Arsenal in the Community Shield (August 29) to follow as the champions look to form the foundations needed to retain their title in 2020/21.

And while the summer schedule has been shortened due to the pandemic, the boss has hinted that the Reds are looking to add a fourth friendly affair to their schedule during the period when a handful of internationals will depart in the week prior to the Premier League season starting.

One which could see Liverpool look closer to home, with all English divisions kicking off on the weekend of September 12.

The likes of Virgil van Dijk, Gini Wijnaldum, Joe Gomez, Andy Robertson, Divock Origi, Kostas Tsimikas and Neco Williams could depart following the meeting with Arsenal, with Trent Alexander-Arnold touch and go with a minor issue.

Van Dijk, Gomez, on bike, Austria (Image: Peter Hartenfelser via www.imago-images.de/Imago/PA Images)

It will be the first time in pre-season that the squad will be split up, a reverse on typical summers whereby Klopp is forced to accept a staggered return of his players.

But having an almost full complement of players in Austria has been a source of satisfaction for the boss, who is making sure Liverpool make the most of their training block.

“It’s for a long time the first time that it is like this and I’m really happy about that,” Klopp told the club’s official website.

“That’s why we try to train as often as possible and we cannot care and don’t care about the games too much, it’s just so that we are ready for them.

“With this game, we try everything to be ready for the Arsenal game but even after that there are another two weeks. Strange weeks because of international duty, then we will see who exactly has to go for international duty.

“Holland we know already, England as well, probably Wales. Brazil and African nations are not, which helps, so they will stay here.

“We try to organise a friendly for that time as well but we will see if it’s possible. We have to use this pre-season, it’s the only time in the year when we can really train, so we should do it.”

As has been custom under his tutelage, the Reds will utilise the full depth of their squad against Stuttgart – a game which Klopp wants to see his side win the mental battle more than any other.

“Pre-season games are very, very important for the moment but they should not be historical games where everybody is speaking about [them] even years later,” Klopp added.

“It’s just necessary that we show after a lot of tough sessions that we are ready to fight against the tiredness or whatever.

“That’s how it is because in one week we play Arsenal, so there’s not massive time between now and then.

“Just throw on the pitch what we have in this moment, we will make changes, everybody will play pretty much and three days later we play against Salzburg, which will be very, very difficult, I’m 100 per cent sure.”

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