Klopp hugs, lactate kings & transfer craziness – Liverpool’s 1st week of pre-season

Liverpool have concluded the first seven days of pre-season, and it has not been without things to talk about, including transfer talk and the lactate test winners.

Jurgen Klopp welcomed an eight-man group back to the AXA Training Centre on July 8 and with each passing day he saw his squad grow, until all but two senior players were back.

There has been plenty of testing to undertake but time for early ball work too, before he takes his squad to Germany for a training camp and the first two friendlies of the summer.

With the seven days of pre-season behind them, here’s a quick recap of who was involved and some notable stories from the week.

 

The ‘James Milner award’ winners crowned

The start of pre-season ensures the dreaded lactate test is high on the agenda and with James Milner no longer at the club, a new king had to be crowned.

And it should have come as no surprise that Mo Salah was the winner in the first of two groups to take the test on Tuesday – his dedication to fitness is incredible.

In the other group, it was new signing Dominik Szoboszlai who left Trent Alexander-Arnold gobsmacked as he appeared to have barely broken a sweat after outrunning his new teammates.

Not that he wasn’t already, but Klopp will really be relishing working with his new No. 8.

 

Mac Allister’s first Klopp hug

While enjoying food in the canteen on Tuesday, Mac Allister got his first hug from his new manager – the first of many!

The quick greeting with the boss was only one of many introductions over the course of his first day as the midfielder made sure to make his way around all the players and staff present.

The manager even has a nickname for his No. 10, ‘Gary’! It is, of course, in reference to the former Red Gary McAllister.

 

37 Reds involved

It has been a busy week at the AXA, with up to 37 players reporting to first-team testing and training, although a handful are still on individual programmes for injuries sustained last season –Thiago and Stefan Bajcetic are among them.

Klopp has not been without a number of young players to cast an eye over, and he name-checked three who we are likely to see in Germany for the training camp – which includes Ben Doak, Conor Bradley and Bobby Clark.

Here is the list of Reds spotted throughout the week:

Goalkeepers: Alisson, Kelleher, Adrian, Pitaluga, Ojrzynski, Mrozek, Jaros

Defenders: Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Tsimikas, Bradley, Ramsay*, Konate, Van Dijk, Gomez, Matip, Quansah, Van den Berg (on loan)

Midfielders: Fabinho, Henderson, Mac Allister, Szoboszlai, Thiago*, Bajcetic*, Morton*, Corness, Frauendorf

Forwards: Salah, Nunez, Diaz, Gakpo, Jota, Doak, Clark, Stewart, Koumas, Gordon*, Blair

* Rehab for injury

Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott are the only first-team players yet to return.

 

Transfer craziness

It would not be the summer transfer window without a little craziness, and Jordan Henderson and Fabinho have delivered.

The pair are subject to interest from clubs in Saudi Arabia and it has led to Fabinho not travelling to Germany after a £40 million bid was received, Henderson, meanwhile, remains with the squad for now.

It has made for a whirlwind start to pre-season as the Reds face losing two of their most experienced midfielders just four weeks out from the season opener.

If the right price is offered it will give the club plenty to think about and it is certainly not out of the realm of possibility that we arrive at Stamford Bridge without both of them.

Let’s just hope it does not drag on for too much longer one way or another, Klopp will not want it to be a distraction hanging over a summer that the club needs to get right.