Trent Alexander-Arnold says the young players who stepped up to the first team this summer will have noticed a few differences compared to completing pre-season with the Academy – chiefly the amount of recovery that takes place between sessions.
The likes of Yasser Larouci, Paul Glatzel and Bobby Duncan, who all impressed for the U18s last year, winning the FA Youth Cup, spent most of the summer with the first team, first at Melwood and then on the tour of the USA and the training camp in Evian.
Alexander-Arnold says he noticed the step up in recovery between sessions when he moved up the age groups, suggesting the teenagers will have found the same thing.
Speaking to LiverpoolFC.com ahead of the Community Shield on Sunday, the 20-year-old said: “A lot of them have probably been surprised by how intense it has been and how much recovery actually [happens]: the food you have to put into your body, the ice baths between double sessions and stuff like that.
“They’re probably not really used to it in youth football – I remember I wasn’t used to it, but you’ve just got to try to adapt as soon as possible and try to keep up.”
The Reds youth sides have actually been training very similarly to the first team this summer, with Academy director Alex Inglethorpe wanting to replicate first-team football demands as much as possible over the summer for both the U18s and the U23s.
In terms of training, Barry Lewtas and Neil Critchley have both been implementing sessions that match up with Jurgen Klopp’s in terms of the length, style and time, but even so, Alexander-Arnold is right in terms of the step up.
As much as practice makes perfect, there is nothing like doing the real thing with the first team. All three – and the rest of the young players who joined pre-season for the first time – seem to have coped admirably.