This is a terrific insight into the physical work done during the summer which has helped put Liverpool in the position we currently occupy.
There’s been a few blips, but we’re second in the Premier League table right now, ahead of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, who spent barbarically in the summer, and Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United, who spent even more barbarically.
Our success has been largely down to a fluid, interchanging team working tirelessly for each other – as brilliant victories over Arsenal, Chelsea, Hull, Watford and Middlesbrough attest.
Times journalist Oliver Kay has written a lengthy editorial for FourFourTwo in which he explains a story from Liverpool’s pre-season training camp, in which the players were rigorously worked physically and tactically.
Kay writes: “When Klopp took his Liverpool squad to California in July, he pointedly declared that it was not to be regarded or described as a pre-season tour. It was not a ‘tour’. They were to play matches in Los Angeles, San Francisco and St Louis in the International Champions Cup series, but, he said repeatedly, this was a training camp. It was to be intense. He’s brought in a new head of fitness and conditioning: Andreas Kornmayer, a Klopp lookalike who worked under Louis van Gaal, Jupp Heynckes and Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich. Klopp creased up with laughter when Kornmayer warned the players that he’s going to work them harder and get them fitter than ever before.
“At their training camp at Stanford University, California, the consensus among several of Liverpool’s players and staff was that none of them could recall such an intense, rigorous pre-season workout at any of their previous clubs.”
Klopp is not scared to run his players into the ground. He’s been criticised for it, but an unbelievable level of base fitness allows them to fulfil his tactical demands. Providing he has a squad talented enough to always choose a strong XI, he doesn’t mind if individuals can’t play twice in a week – providing he has a core group who understand ‘his way’.
When judging whether pre-season was a success or not, consider this. Liverpool have been the better side against every single team we’ve played this term. We lost to Burnley and Bournemouth and drew with Spurs, Southampton and West Ham, but deserved to win all of those games. Most of our wins have been cakewalks.