The day after the 2020/21 season officially draws to a close, a new one starts for Liverpool and there’s plenty to look forward to throughout pre-season.
Seven weeks after the conclusion of a season like no other, 34 members of Jurgen Klopp‘s squad will be back on the training pitches as preparations begin for 2021/22.
A picturesque Austria will provide the backdrop for the summer grind as the foundations are laid for another push at silverware.
A handful of notable faces will be absent at the start, however, following their international exploits and are unlikely to be rushed back to ensure they head into the new campaign refreshed both in mind and body.
Currently, no friendlies have been announced but there are a number in the works throughout another important pre-season.
And here are five things we are eagerly looking forward to seeing from Liverpool over the coming weeks.
The return of the centre-back trio
Remember what it was like to have your first choice central defenders available? Neither do we.
It’s been a long time coming to have Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip back in the mix and it’ll be a glorious sight to see them training alongside their teammates and, hopefully, feature in a number of friendlies.
After such long-term setbacks, they are likely to be treated with caution as it has to be a marathon and not a sprint to ensure they remain available to Klopp throughout the upcoming season.
Van Dijk has been out since October, Gomez November and Matip January, and that they have all been named in the 34-man squad is enough to bring a smile to any Reds’ face.
As Klopp said back in March: “We will be completely over the moon when they are ready to train with us for the start of pre-season.” That we are, Jurgen.
First look at Konate as a Red
Our new No. 5 has already made an impression with his social media posts that included his own hype video and Liverpool-themed party and now it’s time to see what he’s capable of as a Red.
The 22-year-old is highly rated as our first and only signing to date, there will be plenty of eyes cast in his direction as he competes for a spot at the back.
Like any new signing under Klopp, a settling in period is likely to be needed but he will no doubt be given the chance early doors to impress.
With Matip and Gomez back competing for a starting berth, Konate too will be putting his hand up as he has shown he is not lacking any confidence.
With pre-season games in the reckoning and four competitions next season, we should not be starved of seeing the young Frenchman in action.
Hopefully, he’s not the only new signing we’ll be keeping an eye on.
Elliott seizing the moment
“I think that’s got to be everyone’s aim: to get in the team. To get in and around it at least,” Elliott’s words after penning a new long-term contract.
It’s safe to say, the objective is clear. Currently, a loan isn’t on the table and with uncertainty over the future of other Liverpool forwards, the door is ajar for the 18-year-old.
Largely untested at the highest level, Elliott would still prove an exciting squad member for Klopp and that his loan at Blackburn was a resounding success is a cause for optimism.
Liverpool’s ‘little diamond’ will need to put in the work and it’ll be intriguing to see how Klopp utilises the teenager, and if any hints can be picked up early on as to how he sees his role for the 2021/22 season.
A youngster to jump out from the crowd
With a host of senior figures missing early doors, 11 academy members received a ticket on the plane and seven of those are relatively unknown names.
They’re the shining lights of the next generation and while their time may not come in the upcoming season, the experience of being in Austria with the senior group will prove more valuable than an academy fixture.
Billy Koumetio saw his name thrust into the spotlight last summer, but will it be one of Kaide Gordon, Mateusz Musialowski, Tyler Morton, Conor Bradley or Owen Beck that shine the brightest this time around?
Klopp has always insisted that if you’re good enough, you’re old enough and pre-season typically provides a glimpse at what is to come.
It’ll be interesting to watch and see how the young stars navigate the summer and if they can change their trajectory and cause the manager to pause for thought.
Fans and normality!
It’s always felt out of reach for more than 16 months, but hope has been restored with fans now returning to the stands.
The lifeblood of the game has been sorely missed and that we have the opportunity to claim back a key part of our lives is truly incredible and the players will be just as over the moon.
The friendlies in Austria are set to allow fans and with Anfield expected to host a fixture this summer, it’ll be the first time since March 2020 that a capacity crowd can attend.
There will be plenty of emotions and spine-tingling moments and we cannot wait for the day when all four corners of Anfield are making sure the ground is nothing but a cauldron of noise.
After all, ‘There’s no noise like the Anfield noise‘.