Jurgen Klopp crowns a new winner of ‘James Milner award’ lactate test

Liverpool’s annual pre-season lactate test had a new winner on Tuesday, with Jurgen Klopp calling it the ‘James Milner award’.

In the absence of Milner, who had won the fitness test in each of his eight seasons at the club, it was for new players to step up.

Joe Gomez, who had given Milner a run for his money last year, led the first lactate test on Saturday among a smaller group of players, with Darwin Nunez also impressing.

But with 14 senior players returning on Tuesday it was all eyes on who would step up.

Split into two groups, the first group of seven saw Mo Salah, Jordan Henderson and youngster Conor Bradley as the last three standing – with Salah eventually outlasting the others.

“The James Milner award goes to…!” declared Klopp as Salah finished.

Given the Egyptian’s supreme dedication to fitness, this should have come as no surprise.

EXPLAINED: What is the pre-season lactate test and why do Liverpool do it?

In the other group, of six senior players, it was new signing Dominik Szoboszlai who finished top of the group, outrunning fellow new signing Alexis Mac Allister, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Cody Gakpo, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota.

Diaz and Gakpo finished in the top three in that group behind the Reds’ new No.8.

And Szoboszlai will seemingly fit perfectly under Jurgen Klopp‘s management, declaring after: “[It was] really hard, but really good. I like the running!”

Whether that was a little bit of sarcasm or not, the new signing surely impressed on his first day and those words will be music to Jurgen’s ears!

Liverpool had all their players back at the AXA Training Centre for the first time on Wednesday, with Mac Allister and Szoboszlai meeting their new teammates and coaching staff.

The squad will spend the rest of the week at Kirkby, before flying to Germany on Saturday for the pre-season training camp in the Black Forest region.

The Reds’ first friendly, against Karlsruher, takes place next Wednesday.