Liverpool’s team of ‘winners’ leaves lasting impression on departee

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Liverpool’s eye for detail and laser-like focus has been key to their consistent charge to silverware, one which fails to falter even in the immediate aftermath of success.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side are the standard-bearers for any team looking to replicate their path to success, but what you see on the field of play is only half the story.

The work undertaken within the confines of Melwood set the Reds up game after game in what are gruelling seasons, setting the foundations for both the short and long term as they train like they play, with intensity as their identity.

And Andy Lonergan, who has now departed the club after his one-year deal came to a close, offered an insight into how the highest of highs are still not enough to steer Liverpool off course.

You could forgive standards and intensity slipping when Liverpool were officially crowned champions of England after Man City fell to defeat at Chelsea, but as the ‘keeper attests to, it was the furthest thing from the Reds’ minds.

“The level of intensity in training is something else,” Lonergan told the Lancashire Post. “There was not a single day when anyone dropped off in terms of their attitude.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, October 22, 2019: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino, Joe Gomez and Mohamed Salah during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group E match between KRC Genk and Liverpool FC. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

“We all have the odd bad day at the office when things might not quite go right but that was not an attitude thing.

“One training session which really stood out for me was the day after we had won the league, Chelsea having beaten Manchester City.

“There was a five-a-side game going on and a decision was given which someone wasn’t happy about.

“It led to a lot of shouting – not fisticuffs or anything – because players wanted to win that five-a-side game.

“Forget the fact we had won the title the night before, the intense focus was on this game in training. That summed up the attitude about Liverpool, it was full of winners.”

It’s a mindset which has resulted in four trophies coming the Reds’ way in a 13-month period and one which will be key to Klopp’s bid of attacking the title next season, not defending it.

And while Liverpool get set to return to pre-season training on August 15, Lonergan will not be among the squad as the goalkeeping ranks are well stocked with Alisson, Adrian, Caoimhin Kelleher, Kamil Grabara, Loris Karius and youngster Vitezslav Jaros.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - Tuesday, August 13, 2019: Liverpool's goalkeeper Andy Lonergan during a training session ahead of the UEFA Super Cup match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Besiktas Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

But the experience of spending a year with Liverpool is one he will “never forget” and now it is time to rest before resetting for the next challenge in a career which has now spanned 20 years.

“It’s been a great year, one I could not have predicted,” Lonergan continued. “To have been part of the Liverpool squad is something I’ll never forget.

“It was win after win, they made football look easy at times. I was on the bench eight times and I was in the squad for Premier League games 30 times.

“They always took a few more players with them, so it was nice to go to some great stadiums.

“It was more difficult after the restart, clubs were only allowed to take their matchday squad.

“I’ve left Liverpool now, they will have five keepers when they go back with lads returning from loans. There is no space available at the moment for another keeper, I knew that was going to happen.

“I left on a high and I really enjoyed my time as a Liverpool player. I’m just relaxing at the moment, playing golf and maybe I’ll get a holiday.

“What happens next, I’ll see. I’m in a fortunate position that I don’t need to play football for the sake of it. It needs to excite me – there might be the chance to go abroad.”

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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