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Injured quartet and new boy Konate complete first day of pre-season testing

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It’s been nine months since Virgil van Dijk was a regular member of Liverpool’s team training, but Reds need not wait any longer as the Dutchman is nearing his return.

And the same goes for Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Gomez and Joel Matip, all of whom have been on their respective comeback trail from injury.

As members of the contingent to arrive early doors, Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk and Matip have all now experienced the delight that is the lactate test.

They were joined by James Milner, Takumi Minamino, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Kostas Tsimikas in two different groups.

Gomez completed his test later in the day alongside new signing Ibrahima Konate.

It is a regular feature on day one of pre-season that measures the squad’s fitness levels, with data provided to learn when each player hits the wall after a certain level of intensity and blood lactate.

It involves a series of different intervals and paces around a pitch and the machine that is Milner always comes out on top, and you can expect the same this year.

But the return to pre-season and the dreaded lactate test provides a welcome sight of much-missed players being back in the fold.

Back in March, Klopp said: “We will be completely over the moon when they are ready to train with us for the start of pre-season.” And it’s certainly the case for fans, players and the coaches.

While a cautious approach will be taken with Van Dijk, Matip and Gomez in particular after such a long time away, it represents a clean slate for 2021/22.

Last season was a taxing one and the Reds will benefit greatly from having three colossal figures available to them, and pre-season will be key to forming foundations to keep them on the pitch for as long as possible.

And that they are ready to get stuck into training straight away is a welcome boost as the Reds plot their return back to lifting silverware in the near future.

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