Why only 15 Liverpool players trained on Monday – with 9 youngsters involved

There was surprise when a small squad of 15 Liverpool players were spotted in training on Monday, but there is a simple explanation in the pre-season schedule.

After a weekend off upon the return from Asia, the resumption of work at the AXA Training Centre saw a smaller group than usual put through their paces.

It was not the usual group of high-profile names, either, with seven of the players involved called up from the academy and two more still teenagers.

Jordan Henderson, Luis Diaz, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, Nat Phillips and Adrian were the only senior figures involved along with Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho.

Sepp van den Berg, Tyler Morton, Rhys Williams, Isaac Mabaya, Stefan Bajcetic, Harvey Davies and Marcelo Pitaluga were among those put through running drills and working on finishing and shot-stopping.

Though there are a number of players currently sidelined through injury including Diogo Jota, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Calvin Ramsay and Alisson, there was a sense of surprise that so few were in training.

SINGAPORE - Friday, July 15, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah and manager Jürgen Klopp during the Standard Chartered Singapore Trophy pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at the Singapore National Stadium. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After all, Jurgen Klopp had used 36 different players over the two friendlies against Man United and Crystal Palace.

But there is a straightforward explanation for the ‘absence’ of key players, with Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Thiago instead spotted in the gym.

The 15 players in training on Monday were all part of the squad for day one of pre-season, and as such had already undergone the usual fitness tests.

For those who joined late due to post-season internationals, however, there was no time to fit in the lactate test or other examinations while in Asia.

Instead, fitness staff including Dr Conall Murtagh put the first group of latecomers through those checks ahead of an eight-day training camp in Austria.

Liverpool will fly out to Europe later this week, heading to Austria via Germany, with a friendly against RB Leipzig schedule on Thursday evening.

By that time, every player should have undergone the examinations required.

While it is not the ideal preparation for the campaign ahead, it comes after a late end to the season just gone and an early start to the one to come, with an increase in international fixtures in between.

“We have to work a lot in the next four weeks, I would say, especially to prepare the rest of the season,” Klopp told reporters in Singapore.

“We have to use the time, because from mid-September on we will not have time to train anymore. We just play then every three days.”

Liverpool are expected to confirm the squad to fly out to Germany and Austria shortly, with the majority of those who travelled to Asia making up the group.

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