Jurgen Klopp “happy to be back” for pre-season as Darwin Nunez gets to work

The first day of pre-season is here and Liverpool welcomed back the first wave of players for testing at the AXA Training Centre.

It has been 41 days since Liverpool closed out their campaign at Southampton and now they are back preparing for the next season, as pre-season gets underway.

With the majority of Jurgen Klopp‘s side having been involved in internationals during the summer, it was a small group that returned to Kirkby on Saturday.

The manager cut a tanned and happy figure as he greeted staff at the training ground, commenting on his “brilliant” time off before heading off to start his day.

Darwin Nunez was one of the first to greet the manager as he underwent testing, with the boss seemingly happy with his striker’s physical shape after six weeks off.

The Uruguayan was left out of Marcelo Bielsa’s first international squad in the summer as he opted for a young, experimental team and it will, hopefully, be to Liverpool’s benefit.

There will be plenty of attention cast in his direction and pre-season will be his chance to put himself back in contention for Klopp’s starting XI come the trip to Chelsea on August 13.

Joel Matip was also in the building as one of Liverpool’s non-internationals, while Stefan Bajcetic was on the outdoor pitches as he continues his comeback from an adductor stress response.

The 18-year-old has been putting in the work in the post-season after a premature end to his season, and the hope has always been that he will be ready for the start of next season.

“I hope that he can come with us to the training camp [in mid-July] and he can do these bits, and from then on progress and he should be fine for the start of the season,” Klopp said of Bajcetic at the end of May.

While one of the club’s most experienced teenagers from the academy, there is the expectation that a number of youth players will flesh out the squad in the early days of pre-season.

Liverpool’s two new signings will be part of the second wave on Tuesday before Klopp takes his entire team to Germany for a training camp and two friendlies.

Players on the first day of pre-season

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 6, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 1 game between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Players who will be back: Adrian, Pitaluga, Phillips, Gomez, Matip, Fabinho, Bajcetic, Morton, Thiago, Nunez

Second wave: Alisson, Kelleher, Van Dijk, Konate, Tsimikas, Robertson, Alexander Arnold, Van den Berg, Szoboszlai, Mac Allister, Henderson, Jones, Elliott, Diaz, Salah, Gakpo, Jota

Likely youth players: Davies, Chambers, Mabaya, Norris, Quansah, Hill, Balagizi, Frauendorf, Clark, Kone-Doherty, Blair, Stewart