Dreaded lactate test looks for a new champion

The ECHO takes a look at what can be spotted in Liverpool’s latest pre-season training session.

Faces old and new reported to the AXA Training Centre on Tuesday morning as Liverpool welcomed 14 of their international contingent for a first day of pre-season training.

Despite preparations for the 2023/24 season officially beginning on Saturday, the bulk of Jurgen Klopp’s squad – including Mohamed Salah and captain Jordan Henderson – marked their first day back at Kirkby as they were brutally put through their paces.

Luis Diaz, Cody Gakpo, Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold were just some of the Reds’ first-team members to join new signings Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai for their first day as Liverpool players.

From here, the Reds will continue the first week of their schedule on Merseyside before jetting off to the German town of Donaueschingen in the Black Forest region to contest friendlies against Bundesliga 2 opposition Karlsruher SC and Greuther Furth next week.

Here’s what the ECHO spotted from Tuesday’s session at the AXA Centre.


While the likes of Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Luis Diaz all returned to the Liverpool training on Tuesday morning after an extended summer break, all eyes were on Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai at the Reds’ Kirkby training base as both players were captured all smiles on their first day.

Mac Allister was the Reds’ first signing of the summer and a fitting parting gift from outgoing sporting director Julian Ward, who moved quickly to identify and later trigger the Argentine’s £35m release clause in his Brighton and Hove Albion contract.

Roughly three weeks later, Szoboszlai, 22, became the second arrival of the summer as he moved from Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig in a deal worth £60m.

Both players will be part of Jurgen Klopp’s squad that travels to German’s Black Forest region for back-to-back friendlies next week.

All smiles as the summer holidays endAll smiles as the summer holidays end

However, it wasn’t just Alexis Mac Allister who looked delighted to be reporting to the AXA on Tuesday morning. Judging by the photos captured inside the Reds’ gymnasium, defensive duo Ibrahima Konate and Andy Robertson look rather chuffed to be in one another’s company once more after nearly six weeks apart. Same, Ibou. Same.

The skipper and his new vice-captain?

The skipper and his new vice-captain?

Jordan Henderson and Virgil van Dijk could be seen deep in conversation at Kirkby this morning.

Yet while plenty of the conversation was probably centred around the England international’s extravagant social media posts in recent days, it’s a sight that Reds supporters should get used to ahead of the coming campaign.

That’s because Van Dijk is expected to receive a promotion in the Reds’ in-house leadership group following the summer departure of vice-captain James Milner. The 32-year-old Dutch international has skippered the Reds on a number of occasions in recent seasons in the absence of both Henderson and Milner.

And he will be expected to do so plenty of times during the 2023/24 season if his promotion to vice-captain is confirmed.

Dreaded lactate test looks for a new champion

Dreaded lactate test looks for a new champion

Of all of the elements of Liverpool’s rigorous pre-season schedule, nothing quite excites fans like watching their favourite footballers being whipped into shape by the dreaded lactate test.

And this season, following the departure of James Milner, the Reds will be able to welcome just a second champion of the test since 2015.

That’s because the 37-year-old midfielder, who joined Brighton and Hove Albion earlier this summer after the expiry of his contract on Merseyside, has reigned victorious in all of his eight pre-seasons with the club.

Although the winner has not been disclosed yet, images show Luis Diaz, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai taking part in the challenging exercise.

Bajcetic continues rehabilitation

Bajcetic continues rehabilitation

18-year-old Stefan Bajcetic continued his rehabilitation from a long-term adductor injury.

The Spaniard missed the Reds’ final three months of the season but returned to the AXA Training Centre on Saturday to continue his injury comeback.

After the Reds’ final game of the season, Jurgen Klopp admitted he was unsure as to whether the teenager would be fit enough to take part in the pre-season games due to the nature and the handling of the injury.

However, the early signs do make for promising viewing as Bajcetic has already introduced light ball work into his schedule.



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