10 things we noticed as Liverpool return to pre-season training

Liverpool are back in training as they prepare for the 2020/21 campaign, with Jurgen Klopp showing off a new look and a host of familiar faces back for pre-season.

The Reds will kick off their new season against Arsenal in the Community Shield on August 29, after which their Premier League title defence will begin on the weekend of September 12.

Given the late end to 2019/20, this gives them little time to get back into the groove, with under two weeks to go until the first competitive clash back.

Klopp opted for a training camp to start pre-season, with Liverpool heading to Saalfelden, near Salzburg, in Austria for a 10-day stint working as a squad.

Saturday was the Reds’ first day back, and they took in a session soon after they arrived at the Brandlhof hotel, with half of the squad making their own way there and the rest travelling together from Melwood.

Here are 10 things we noticed as Liverpool returned to pre-season training.


Familiar faces are back

With the start of a new season brings the return of a number of players on loan, and Klopp welcomed Loris Karius, Nat Phillips, Marko Grujic and Rhian Brewster back into his ranks in Austria.

It is likely that at least one of those—Karius—departs in the near future, but Phillips and Brewster in particular could be hoping to carve out a role at Anfield this season.

There was also the sight of a returning Chris Morgan to the backroom staff, with the first-team physio back at the club after four years away.


But others miss out

While Karius, Phillips, Grujic and Brewster were all present, Harry Wilson was conspicuous in his absence, despite his loan spell with Bournemouth ending.

Yasser Larouci was also not involved, as he eyes the exit, along with the likes of Ben Woodburn, Sheyi Ojo, Herbie Kane and Taiwo Awoniyi.

Interestingly, none of Paul Glatzel, Leighton Clarkson or Jake Cain were present either, despite the trio having been a part of first-team training on a regular basis in the final months of last season.


A chance at the back

Dejan Lovren‘s summer switch to Zenit St Petersburg has, at least temporarily, opened up a spot in Liverpool’s defensive ranks as fourth-choice centre-back.

While Klopp may be considering a move for another defender in the transfer market, this time in Saalfelden gives a number of players an opportunity to stake their claim, with Phillips, Sepp van den Berg and Ki-Jana Hoever all making a case.


The new boy

Pre-season gives Klopp a chance to cast his gaze over some of Liverpool’s young talents, and this time around the player in question is Billy Koumetio.

The hulking centre-back, 17, has joined the first-team squad in Austria and will be hoping to make an impression in his time there.


Klopp’s got a new style

Can we safely assume Klopp’s been watching Peaky Blinders in his time off?

The manager strolled into the Brandlhof looking like a mafia boss on a golfing holiday, and it suits him!


Salah’s found a new best friend

With Lovren now standing out for Zenit, Mo Salah has moved quickly to find himself a new best friend within the squad.

It may be a surprise, but that comes in the form of new signing Kostas Tsimikas, with the pair travelling together to Saalfelden following the left-back’s £11 million move from Olympiakos.


Is Ox on the mend?

While he joined the squad for strength training and a rendition of Happy Birthday on his 27th, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looked to have left the session for individual work soon after.

The midfielder instead jogged around the pitch with fitness coach Tom King, which is often the case for players working their way back from injury.

Ox was back on the ball on Sunday, however, so the hope is that he is simply being given a more cautious programme ahead of 2020/21.


Bobby’s bringing out the skills

It wouldn’t be a training session without Bobby showing off in some way.

The No. 9 took a skilful approach to the Reds’ dribbling drills, and pulled off another no-look finish as Andreas Kornmayer watched on.


Spirits are high

Liverpool are Premier League champions and it is no surprise that spirits are high among the squad, with the laughs flowing throughout their first days in Austria.

A topless Sadio Mane bore the brunt of it from Virgil van Dijk, who told him “no one wants to see that” as they rode back to the hotel on their bikes.


The views

The Reds had initially planned to head to Evian for their training camp, only for their plans to change at the last-minute due to updated UK quarantine rules for those travelling back from France.

Saalfelden, sitting in the Austrian Alps, certainly isn’t a bad second choice, though. Look at those views!