With no Champions League football to contend for, Jurgen Klopp has been able to start preparing for the upcoming campaign and his side have travelled to Saalfelden – a stunning region of Salzburg, Austria for a two-week training camp.
The Reds travelled to Evian in southern France last summer, but travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic have prevented them from doing so this time. Instead, the club chose Austria as their destination to train in before the start of the new campaign on September 12. Unlike last summer when the Reds travelled to the USA, there will also be no preseason tour this year due to the pandemic and the fact that just seven weeks will have separated the final game of last season and the opening day of the 2020-2021 campaign.
Klopp gave his players two weeks off after the final game of the season on June 26 to re-charge the batteries after what had been the longest season in football history, but it is understood that he prefers these camps to be as intense as possible in order to prepare his side for the months ahead with his squad cycling to and from training and participating in three sessions per day.
The first team has returned free of injuries and several youngsters have returned from loan spells including Rhian Brewster who made his mark on the Championship last season with 11 goals from 22 appearances for Swansea City.
However, 23 year old Harry Wilson has been unable to travel to Austria and participate in the training camp due to injury, and there is growing speculation surrounding the Welshman’s future with Liverpool after a number of unsuccessful spells with Hull, Derby and Bournemouth in recent seasons. Even Loris Karius has travelled to Austria with the squad – the German goalkeeper terminated his loan deal with Besiktas in May after they allegedly failed to pay his wages despite the fact that there is little to no future for him at Anfield. Trent Alexander-Arnold is the only first team player be absent from the camp – the England international has been told to follow his individual training programme at home as he continues rehabilitation for minor issues.
Liverpool have two preseason friendlies lined up during their time in Austria against German side VfB Stuttgart on August 22 and RB Salzburg on August 25 who the Reds faced in the group stages of the Champions League last season. Klopp said that he had been pleased to find “this calibre of opponent” for his side to go up against before the Reds return to Premier League football next month.
The training camp has also allowed Kostas Tsimikas to settle in with the team and the Greek international has developed a newfound friendship with Mo Salah since he signed for the club last week. Takumi Minamino has also looked more settled during his time in Austria – the 25-year-old often looked a little out of place during Liverpool’s title celebrations last June.
It remains unclear whether or not Liverpool will make any more signings before the transfer window closes on October 5, and it has been reported that Liverpool are unwilling to match the £30m price tag which Bayern Munich have set for Thiago Alcantara. They could, however, make a move for him in January.
The Premier League champions will have spent two weeks in Austria before they travel back to Merseyside in anticipation of their match against Arsenal on August 29 for the Community Shield. Klopp will want to capitalise on the chance to win the competition – especially after his side narrowly lost out on winning it at the beginning of last season following Liverpool’s defeat to Manchester City.
A number of individuals will then return to international duties including Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez, with England playing against Iceland on September 5 and Denmark on September 8 in the Nations League.