Liverpool were forced to be fluid once more this pre-season in an ever-changing pandemic world and it’s led to a “strange” new experience of a four-week camp in Austria.
Last summer the Reds had to think on their feet merely days before pre-season as travel restrictions forced a move from Evian, France to Saalfelden, Austria.
And the latter is once again the host as Jurgen Klopp puts his players through their paces ahead of 2021/22, with Liverpool’s bubble to extend to a four-week stay.
It presents a new experience for the Reds, with the tournament-style pre-season ensuring they live out of one another’s pockets as they partake in intense training sessions and four friendly fixtures.
At this stage, the Reds have confirmed 210 minutes of action in Austria, with 30-minute mini-games against FC Wacker Innsbruck and VfB Stuttgart which are followed by 60 minutes against FSV Mainz 05 and 90 when facing Hertha BSC.
There is room in the schedule for more and it is expected that a fixture will be at Anfield before the season opener on August 14, but COVID-19 restrictions have been and will continue to be decisive in Liverpool’s plans.
“We tried to work really close together with the Austrian government here that we can come in, we make sure that we get allowed to come in,” Klopp said of the Reds’ pre-season plans on the club’s official website.
“That was really important and, thanks to them, we are here. But then was the problem, what can we do when we are here? Where can we go from here? That was not clear.
“So we had other options in Spain, which is not perfect because of the weather, it’s maybe a little bit too hot.
“So we stay now for around about four weeks away and this is really, really strange. I never did that before. It’s different when you play a tournament; for example, some players did that obviously, like Euros or World Cups or African Cups or whatever.
“It’s clear they have a similar situation but it’s a preparation after a season for a short period. We prepare after a long break for a long season.
“So the training will be really intense from a specific point of view. It’s now already intense for the situation they are in.
“So we have to be creative and everybody is responsible for keeping the mood up. I never experienced a situation like that – 28 days is really long. But it’s good as well.
“We have enough time to train, we have enough time to talk and when the players from the Euros or the Copa [America] come back we are hopefully able to bring them in without quarantine and these kinds of things.
“That was all important. That we can be together in the bubble, fly as a bubble together to England [so] that we don’t have to get quarantined there and all these things.
“It’s a tricky situation, but that’s the reason why we are away for quite a while.”
Liverpool’s international tournament contingent will each enjoy a three-week break before returning to training in what is a boost for the opener at Norwich.