Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has given Liverpool supporters a unique tour of the new AXA Training Centre, ahead of the rest of the squad’s imminent return.
The Reds have begun life in their new home, having moved away from Melwood after 70 years this month.
For the time being, the Kirkby base is relatively quiet due to the international break, but the loud tones of Oxlade-Chamberlain are still very much present.
The 27-year-old is recovering from a knee injury that has kept him out since August, and on Tuesday, Liverpool released a brilliant video of him giving a guided tour of the Reds’ new abode.
Here are five things we learned from it.
An Entrance Fitting for Champions
If Melwood was relatively low-key in its appearance, the AXA Training Centre is grandiose.
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s tour starts in the entrance to the impressive building, known as the atrium, which he describes as a “facility” more than a training ground.
The former Arsenal man adds that it is an entrance “fit for the champions”, with its long corridor almost reminiscent of the tunnel at Anfield.
You could certainly imagine walking in and being wowed on first impression, especially with ‘The Champions Wall’ and the team’s trophies on display.
Salah is Demanding
Mohamed Salah is one of the best players in the world, not only possessing world-class talent, but also an elite work ethic.
The Egyptian is referenced several times by Oxlade-Chamberlain in the video, the first being a mention of his seat on a “school bench” in the changing room, which he “won’t be happy about” as COVID-19 protocols continue to be in effect.
The spa is dimly-lit, which the midfielder claims will be because Salah “asked for a little more zen around the building”, also mentioning that he and Sadio Mane will be in the gym “about four hours before training” each day.
Salah hasn’t got to where he is without incredible levels of dedication and professionalism.
Carol and Caroline are Still There!
Jurgen Klopp has created a togetherness at Liverpool that sees everyone pull in the same direction, from the players to those who work in the canteen.
Two of the more well-known figures at Melwood were lovable pair Carol and Caroline, but fear not, they have also made the move to Kirkby.
Oxlade-Chamberlain does his best to embarrass Caroline, who is loitering in the background, highlighting the bond that exists at the club.
The club wouldn’t be the same without the pair and it is touching to see the players build such a great rapport with them.
Team Meetings COVID-Style
The coronavirus has affected the world hugely this year, and from a Liverpool perspective, the wait to get back into Anfield is a painful one.
As Oxlade-Chamberlain’s tour shows, however, the club have intelligently planned for social distancing when it comes to team meetings.
An enormous television for Klopp to get his points across is shown, made easier by having a microphone in his hands “telling us how we’re going to win the game,” as players remain unable to sit close to one another.
Those marginal gains can make all the difference, especially in what is termed a ‘new normal’.
There’s Beach Volleyball!
Imagine the likes of Ron Yeats and Tommy Smith playing beach volleyball at Melwood back in the day – the idea is ludicrous!
The modern game is very different, however, with club’s tailoring to the needs of every individual.
If a pool table, spa and huge gym weren’t enough for Klopp and his squad, there is a beach volleyball court as well, with sand to boot.
Oxlade-Chamberlain believes Liverpool did it for “Bobby and Fab and Brazilian boys to get their Samba on,” adding even more colour to the training ground.
We’re not sure a winter game of beach volleyball in Kirkby is quite as appealing as one on Copacabana Beach at the height of summer, though.