5 things spotted as 16 Liverpool players return for pre-season & meet new coaches

With the Arne Slot era afoot, the first wave of Liverpool players returned to pre-season training on Friday, and we picked out five things spotted from day one.


“We are back!”

With Greece not qualifying for Euro 2024, Kostas Tsimikas was the eldest of all the players back and one of the most spritely.

In typical fashion for the upbeat left-back, immediately after walking through the doors of the training base, he gave the cameras a peace sign while declaring: “We are back!”

Jurgen Klopp may be gone, but judging by the media put out by the club, his team spirit is well and truly still in place, though the real test will come when they face adversity during the season.


Assistants keeping watch

2M510EC Rotterdam, Amsterdam. 23 December 2022. Ruben Peeters of Feyenoord during the match between Feyenoord v Go Ahead Eagles at Nieuw Varkenoord on 23 December 2022 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. (Box to Box Pictures/Yannick Verhoeven) Credit: box to box pictures/Alamy Live News

Slot and Richard Hughes gave their first press conference at Liverpool on Friday, but they weren’t the only staff in the room.

Assistant coach Sipke Hulshoff and lead physical performance coach Ruben Peeters were also present, perched at the back of the room in the AXA Training Centre, to listen to their boss.

Also in attendance was Slot’s agent, Rafaela Pimenta, who is in charge of the late Mino Raiola’s clientele.


Van den Berg & Phillips clock in

Some might be surprised to see Sepp van den Berg back training at Liverpool, but the Dutchman remains committed to maintaining his fitness and, of course, would love to catch the eye of Slot.

The reason some may be surprised by that is that he recently spoke honestly about how he may desire to leave Liverpool to further his career.

Nat Phillips has been less vocal but is also expected to move on in this transfer window. Cardiff manager Erol Bulut has already said he would like to sign the defender permanently, and Phillips has admitted he would “certainly consider” it.


16 players involved – club say 8?!

At least 16 players were caught on camera while enjoying their first day back.

As well as Tsimikas, Van den Berg and Phillips, Stefan Bajcetic, Conor Bradley, Jarell Quansah, Owen Beck, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, Fabio Carvalho, Kaide Gordon, James McConnell, Ben Doak, Tyler Morton, Harvey Davies and Caoimhin Kelleher were all at the training ground.

That isn’t to say they were all training, though. Indeed, these early days are for testing only anyway.

According to the club, only Bajcetic, Bradley, Quansah and Van den Berg were involved in the morning, while Beck, Jones, Kelleher and Tsimikas all got going in the afternoon. If that really was the case, we’ve no idea what the other eight were doing there!


No Salah or Endo

Among those who were expected to be there this week were Mo Salah and Wataru Endo.

Neither were called up by their countries to play at the Paris Olympics, but they were still absent from day one of pre-season.

In fact, Salah’s social media indicates he is still enjoying the sunshine in Greece!

There’s still almost three weeks until the squad even travel to the USA for their pre-season tour, and the first friendly isn’t for another 22 days, so plenty of time for Salah and Endo to be involved.