This year has brought a big change to Liverpool’s pre-season, with the customary lactate test tweaked to involve indoor running and asthma diagnosis technology.
Pre-season is now underway at the AXA Training Centre, with the Reds getting back to work ahead of their flight to Thailand on Saturday.
The core of the squad reported back over Monday and Tuesday, with an extended staff brought in to oversee initial medical checks and fitness tests in the indoor gym.
Usually, day one of pre-season would bring the lactate test, which it is safe to say is more popular with certain members of the first-team squad than others.
“I started gagging and I was sick everywhere.
“Halfway around I had to stop and be sick, then I tried to catch them up because I’m thinking, ‘I can’t drop out at this point’, because this point was like you are super unfit, that was the point you had to get by.
“So I was sick around the pitch, then I had to stop because they have to take the blood out your ear, and I was sick when I was getting my blood taken.
“I went another lap and I was like ‘I need to stop’.”
Designed to monitor levels of lactic acid around the muscles and the rate of fatigue, players were tasked with running laps around the outdoor pitches with their blood tested at every interval.
Unlike Robertson, it was an exercise James Milner relished, with the veteran midfielder routinely lasting longer than any of his team-mates.
But this year it seems as though Liverpool are taking a slightly different approach, with the introduction of fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) testing using analysis technology from NIOX.
FeNO testing is typically used in diagnosing asthma, with NIOX describing the technology as “the most convenient biomarker of airway inflammation.”
Liverpool also employed Manchester-based respiratory and cardiology diagnostics company LoveMedical to oversee cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET).
Players were strapped with electrodes on their chest, pulse oximeters on their feet and wrists and an exercise mask to monitor their breathing.
They were then tasked with running at intervals on a specialist treadmill, with readings conducted before blood tests and heart-rate monitors were used to measure lactic acid and cardiopulmonary output.
As explained by LoveMedical: “CPET found favour in the sports and fitness arena, in particular as a tool to determine fitness by assessing the volume of oxygen output of a person under exercise.”
In short, the combined lactate, FeNO and CPET testing is designed to fully determine each player’s base fitness at the start of pre-season.
“It’s never easy. [Adrian‘s] heart rate was through the roof and he was barely walking!” he joked.
“I think it’s more the sort of anxiety, everyone’s gearing up to that first day of testing and wanting to do well.
“We did it on the treadmill this year, we’ve all done running in the off-season and done preparation, so you should be pretty prepared for it.
“It’s never easy, this year with the mask and all the wires and everything it was a bit uncomfortable, which makes it a little bit more challenging.
“But it is what it is, you’ve just got to get through it and then the footballs come out and that’s when the hard work is more fun.”
The information gathered will then be provided to the club’s medical staff and sports science department, including head of fitness and conditioning Andreas Kornmayer, who oversees the testing.
That will then be used to accurately measure each player’s fitness to not only build for the pre-season schedule, but also the long campaign ahead.
It is rare, if ever, that a player will fail these tests, per se.
Instead, this is another of those marginal gains that have given Jurgen Klopp‘s side the edge in many areas in recent years.
More than five weeks after the events at the Champions League final, Liverpool have yet to receive an official apology, namely, for the blame the officials looked to lay at the feet of supporters.
A report from the French senate into the chaos that ensued is expected on July 13 but in the interim, the interior minister Gerald Darmanin has seen his version of events aptly described as ‘lies’ and “bulls***.”
The words have come from one of the two men in charge of the ongoing inquiry, Francois-Noel Buffet, who slammed the version of events initially peddled by Darmanin, including the 30,000-plus fake tickets and Liverpool fans being at fault.
“The major problem comes from the Minister of the Interior, who lied. Following the events, he told bullshit,” Buffet said, via L’Équipe.
“He had also said that it was the fault of the English, who had made a mess. It’s not true, actually. The English were not responsible, they have nothing to do with it.”
It came before Darmanin again fronted the cameras with a change of tune, turning his attention to the “delinquency” and the lack of organisation, but still without formal and direct apology to Liverpool and Real Madrid.
“If there is one regret [I have], it is the fact of not having fought enough on delinquency, that I have indeed recognised [since],” he told BFMTV and RMC.
The pressure and scrutiny will remain and the words of Buffet do provide some hope that the inquiry will be damning of the lies peddled by Darmanin and co.3 things today: Loans, friendlies and transfer hints?
Latest Liverpool FC news
The hugs, the smile – he’s back. Jurgen Klopp is in the building, he’s looking tanned and fresh!
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 5, 2022
If you’ve not caught up on the end of Stranger Things I’d highly recommend you do so with few offerings of football tonight.
The Reds knew from the off that they have the early 12.30pm kickoff to contend with, and now it has been confirmed that their second game of the season will follow nine days later.
Anfield will host its first match against Crystal Palace under the lights having been moved to Monday, August 15, with an 8pm kickoff on Sky Sports, for those in the UK.
It’s an extended break that Klopp will be eager to use as a valuable training block, but, for fans, it leaves plenty of time to sit and wait for the Anfield opener.
A further four games throughout August and September have been selected for television, including the Merseyside derby.
It, of course, also includes the trip to Man United, which is also to be played on a Monday evening, August 22 at Old Trafford, with Sky Sports having the rights for the 8pm fixture.
Bournemouth (August 27) and Newcastle (August 31) are next up for the Reds to close out the first month of the season, and the former is the first 3pm match, while the latter has been picked up by BT Sport.
The first Merseyside derby, at Goodison, kicks off the month of September and will take place on Saturday, September 3, with kickoff scheduled for the early 12.30pm slot on BT Sport.
It all makes for plenty of late and early starts for Liverpool in the first two months of the season.Liverpool FC fixtures in August and September
Two games from absolute immortality.
Liverpool played every single game available to them in 2021/22, and in the process took us on a journey we will never forget.
Now that the dust has settled, it is important to take stock and realise just how fortunate we were to witness a campaign that featured three finals and a title race that went all the way to the very last second.Cautious optimism in the autumn
It feels like another lifetime, but it is worth remembering that the beginning of the season also marked the return of full-capacity football stadia. Norwich away was one big party, where friendly faces reunited and matchday routines passed down generations were resumed.
Burnley at home followed and with it came the first full Anfield in 528 days, in what was the least subdued 12.30pm atmosphere the place has ever seen.
Football was back, routines were back, and with six points from six; the Reds were back.
An almost flawless September (barring dropped points on the road at Brentford) was preceded by a titanic battle at home to Man City. Only seven games into the season, it felt like there were already palpable title ramifications.
Despite going ahead twice, a point felt satisfactory enough given the onslaught of second-half pressure from the champions.
If you’re still in need of consoling having seen the Reds go so agonisingly close to an unprecedented quadruple, cast your mind back to October 24.
Old Trafford hasn’t been a happy hunting ground in the 21st century, but for 90 minutes the Reds turned it into their training ground in a 5-0 thumping that flattered Man United more than it did Liverpool.
Amongst all this, Liverpool cruised into the knockout stages of the Champions League from what had been dubbed the ‘group of death’, amassing a maximum of 18 points and becoming the first English side in history to do so.
There were some great wins throughout, but Nat Phillips performed a Cruyff turn inside his own box at the San Siro and, quite frankly, that’s the only part you need to concern yourself with.
There were a few dropped points towards the end of the calendar year, including the only defeats of the league season at Leicester and West Ham, but December did also include golden moments such as Divock Origi’s last gasp winner at Molineux and a 4-1 thrashing of our neighbours across Stanley Park.League & FA Cup adventures
The domestic cups were ultimately the foundation upon which the overall success was built, and provided some of the most entertaining nights of the campaign, even in the early stages.
It’s been a long time coming, but Liverpool were very much the Wembley wizards once more.
Three successful visits yielded the first domestic cup double in over two decades, the first of which was one of the most scintillating 0-0 draws you could wish to see.
After the festive period, the Reds hit the pedal and never looked back.
A total 16 league wins from the last 18 evoked memories of the relentless form that saw Liverpool capture their 19th league title two years earlier, closing what once seemed an insurmountable gap on City.
Of course, the inescapable truth is that it didn’t quite have the fairy-tale conclusion it deserved. The big two pots eluded us in agonising fashion.
Having closed the gap from 14 points, we went into Wolves at home on the last day of the league season with hope rather than expectation.
What unfolded in the second half was a whirlwind 45 minutes of emotions probably unsafe for the human body to experience in such a short window.
It’s not an exaggeration to say I was struggling for breath at stages.
As someone who’s chosen not to watch the goals back from the Etihad, I’m unable to pass comment on what happened between the 76th and 81st minute, but it left Liverpool heartbreakingly short on the final day once again.
An inspired fightback from January nonetheless.
Paris was an equally painful experience but for a whole host of different reasons. On the pitch, the Reds fell victim to a career performance from Thibaut Courtois and a lack of spark redolent of an exhausting 63-game season.
Off the pitch, a cloud was thrown over the entire event by shambolic events caused by those employed to keep the public safe.
The result stung, and still leaves a nasty taste after the incredible road we’d been on to get there, but it paled into significance compared with events off the pitch.
We remain optimistic that those responsible will be held to account, and that no set of supporters (Liverpool or otherwise) will have to experience that at a final again.What next?
Onto next season then. What would represent a good 2022/23 for the Reds?
There’s a variety of long-winded avenues you could go down with this, and certainly a conversation to be had around the two big pots.
The short answer for me though: to have as much fun as we did last season.
Mohamed Salah is said to have been the subject of an enquiry from Barcelona during his Liverpool contract talks, while the club’s new away kit for 2022/23 has seemingly been leaked.Sorry Barca, he’s ours!
Three days after Salah committed his long-term future to Liverpool with a new three-year contract, news of one club who were interested in taking him away from Anfield has emerged.
Writing in The Athletic this morning, James Pearce claims that Barcelona “were one of several top European clubs” who made contact with Salah’s agent Ramy Abbas Issa about his contract situation at Liverpool.
That should come as no surprise, given Barcelona have been linked with every forward under the sun in the last 12 months.
Pearce also states that Liverpool have been impressed with Salah’s attitude throughout the negotiations, including his conduct around the club’s young players, with Harvey Elliott “taken under his wing” over the past year.
He goes on to add that “senior Anfield figures” have also made clear that they would have tried to extend Sadio Mane‘s deal this summer, had he not decided to move on in favour of a new challenge.
There is also a line that claims Salah “has established a close friendship” with Liverpool’s all-time leading goalscorer Ian Rush, who played a role in persuading him to extend his contract. Now that’s a friendship that will bring a smile to your face.
Mo is staying exactly where he belongs.3 things today: Two kit leaks and pre-season begins!
??? OK, this one is going to be ????????… https://t.co/5LQdBdK4Go
— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) July 4, 2022
Luis Diaz is still rocking the blonde haircut and you just know he’s going to do crazy things on the football pitch this season.
The hard work starts here.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 4, 2022
The Reds are back! For the start of pre-season, that is, and it was a day full of tests after their well-deserved summer break.
The return of Jurgen Klopp‘s squad to the AXA Training Centre sees the new season draw ever closer, with focus now able to shift to what is to come in the weeks ahead.
Lacklustre English weather greeted the players upon their arrival, which is so very typical, but there was energy and smiles aplenty as players and staff were reunited.
Here are seven things we spotted from the first day of pre-season!Lijnders is raring to go!
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 4, 2022
There is a reason Klopp said Pep Lijnders “is a real energiser” and we saw it early on as the assistant manager started his day bellowing from the upper level of the training centre to those down below.
“Back in business,” were the words said with assertiveness and a big smile. Borrowing the manager’s words…”this man is on fire!”New boys make their start
We saw our new No. 28 receive a kind welcome from Andreas Kornmayer, head of fitness and conditioning, and physio Chris Morgan, while Ramsay was shoulder to shoulder with Luis Diaz on the fitness bikes – not a bad way to start!
The backpack from Carvalho really is giving us the first day of school vibes, hopefully, he didn’t forget his lunch!Speaking of new faces
Luke Chambers, fresh from his under-19 Euro triumph with England, was straight back into the fold as he underwent testing, despite only having last played competitively on Friday.
The young defender was namechecked by Lijnders back in January as a player Liverpool hoped to cast their eye over in pre-season and he may just get his wish!
One of a few new kids on the block during the first day!Fresh and energetic Diaz
The hard work starts here.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 4, 2022
And talking about Diaz, it’s a new look for the No. 23 thanks to a fresh trim over the summer, but the energy was all the same from the Colombian.
Buzzing around the gym, Diaz looks ready to hit the ground running in his first pre-season with the club, and that’s a scary thought considering what he was capable of having just been thrown straight into the team during the winter!Gordon in the mix
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 4, 2022
Last season was a memorable one for Gordon having used the pre-season as a springboard for four senior appearances and a maiden goal for the club.
Injuries curtailed his year but he’s to be back in the mix this summer and there will be plenty of enthusiasm over what he could conjure up, but without any added pressure seeing as though he is still only 17.Split into groups
With 19 senior players making their return on the first day and tests to complete, they were split up into groups.
The lactate test was not on the cards on Monday, but there were plenty of alternatives for the players as their baseline measurements were taken after their break.
From vertical height tests to aerobic performance, the players got friendly with sensors and all things physical testing – and it certainly had Oxlade-Chamberlain sweating, among others!
One part of the job we’re not particularly jealous of…
As Liverpool begin their preparations for 2022/23, we revisit some classic pre-season memories – including three goalkeepers trying out new positions.
New signings on show, shiny new kits, world tours and breakout performers – just some of the things we all associate with pre-season.
It can be a time of great excitement for supporters, as players reconvene and prepare for a completely fresh start. A new era, if you like.
However, with trips to Thailand, Singapore, Austria and Germany all scheduled, there’s plenty to unfold before the real business begins.
Here, we take a look back at some famous Liverpool pre-season memories.Pepe Reina in midfield!
When Luis Garcia and Fabio Aurelio pulled up with injuries in Liverpool’s pre-season clash with Kaiserslautern in 2006, Rafa Benitez had a decision to make.
Though he had already made all of his substitutions, he would have been allowed to bring Robbie Fowler – who had already gone off – back onto the pitch.
Instead, he gave goalkeeper Pepe Reina a runout in midfield.
The Spaniard wore Xabi Alonso’s No. 14 shirt and had two opportunities to score, in a game the Reds would go on to lose 3-2.
Pre-season at its glorious best.When Klopp’s Mainz hammered Rafa’s Liverpool
In the same summer, Benitez’s Liverpool – on the back of an FA Cup win – took on a plucky Mainz side in Germany.
Their manager? A 39-year-old Jurgen Klopp.
Benitez named his strongest side of pre-season, including starts for Alonso, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Sami Hyypia and new signings Jermaine Pennant and Craig Bellamy.
Klopp’s Mainz came away 5-0 winners, with all five goals coming in the second half, including three in five minutes.Don’t go, Xabi
The summer of 2009 saw Benitez’s Liverpool travel to Asia to take on the Thailand and Singapore national teams.
It was also a summer of speculation centring around the future of Alonso.
Banners begging the Spaniard to stay at Anfield were scattered across the stadiums for both matches, but supporters’ pleas would prove unsuccessful, with Alonso joining Real Madrid for £26 million later that summer.That TV documentary
Somehow, this summer marks 10 whole years since ‘Being: Liverpool’, the documentary that captured Brendan Rodgers’ first pre-season at the club, aired for the first time.
“You said ‘steady'” and “Jonjo Shelvey, king of the golf” are just two of the famous lines that still, to this day, will send shivers down the spines of Liverpool supporters when they look back at this.
How far we’ve come.The best You’ll Never Walk Alone ever? [embedded content]
In 2013, Liverpool’s first-ever match in Australia began with a spine-tingling rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone, sung by the record crowd of 95,000 inside the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground.
A video simply titled ‘BEST YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE EVER!!!’ has now racked up over 20 million views on YouTube. Special.Benteke’s debut stunner
Admit it, you were excited when you saw this goal.
After Liverpool had splashed out £32.5 million to sign Christian Benteke in 2015, the Belgian netted after a superb turn and volley on the edge of the area on his first outing against Swindon Town.
That was about as good as it got for the striker, who was moved on to Crystal Palace after Klopp’s appointment one year later.“We are here because we want to leave Mama here” [embedded content]
When LFCTV decided to give Mamadou Sakho a GoPro as the Reds toured Alcatraz during pre-season 2016, they weren’t to know that he would be sent home by Klopp days later.
The video did offer some insight into Sakho’s disciplinary issues, with Klopp revealing the Frenchman had been late to report for a flight the day before.
“We are here because we want to leave Mama here,” Klopp joked.
Days later, Sakho was exiled from his squad for good.Shamal George up front
Not the first and not the last time we’d see a Liverpool goalkeeper playing outfield during pre-season!
In a friendly at Huddersfield, Klopp brought on 18-year-old goalkeeper Shamal George as a striker, after Lucas Leiva was taken off injured and there were no outfield players left on the bench.
It would turn out to be George’s only first-team appearance of any kind for the club.Shaqiri’s debut bicycle kick
The summer of 2018 saw Swiss attacking midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri arrive from Stoke – and he announced himself to the Liverpool faithful in the best way possible.
In a pre-season clash with Man United in the US, Shaqiri scored the most remarkable of overhead kicks as the Reds ran out 4-1 winners.
Have you ever seen a better debut goal?Atherton in attack
July 2019 saw another Liverpool goalkeeper given a chance as a striker. This time it was Dan Atherton’s moment to shine.
In the Reds’ 6-0 pre-season win over Tranmere at Prenton Park, Klopp was forced to bring on Atherton as a replacement for Paul Glatzel, who sustained a knee injury in the second half.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about pre-season, it is to expect the unexpected!
Liverpool will be heavily impacted by another mid-season tournament in 2023/24, after a major change to the Africa Cup of Nations schedule was confirmed.
It was a setback the club had long known about, and fortunately, the Reds were able to thrive without their African trio – aided by the immediate impact of winter signing Luis Diaz.
That tournament, held in Cameroon, was scheduled to take place in the summer of 2021, but various concerns including the COVID-19 pandemic saw it eventually take place over January and February of the following year.
Now, a similar situation has unfolded, with the 2023 AFCON now confirmed to be taking place in the winter of 2024 instead.
As reported by journalist Usher Komugisha, “heavy rains” in the Ivory Coast during the summer months have seen the tournament rearranged, meaning Liverpool will again be without Salah and Keita midway through 2023/24.
It will, therefore, bring a third consecutive campaign with a mid-season tournament, though this term will see the domestic calendar paused to accommodate the winter World Cup in Qatar.
Keita could, of course, not be a Liverpool player by that point, with the Guinean’s contract currently due to expire in 2023.
But it is widely expected that Keita will sign an extension to his deal, with talks ongoing following the announcement of Salah’s new club-record contract worth upwards of £350,000 a week.
The most recent AFCON saw Salah and Mane pitted against each other in the final, with Senegal triumphing over Egypt as the pair went all the way, missing six games for Liverpool.
Salah ended months of speculation and concern over his future on Friday when he announced he had put pen to paper on a new long-term deal with Liverpool.
The Egyptian has committed for another three years, taking him beyond his 33rd birthday in 2025, after a long and difficult negotiation process between club officials and his representative, Ramy Abbas Issa.
A heavily incentivised package sees Salah’s wage rise to around £350,000 a week, and potentially higher if he achieves a series of targets, which makes him the best-paid player in the club’s history.
It is a significant deal that changes the balance of Liverpool’s wage structure, with the 30-year-old believed to be earning over £100,000 a week more than any other.
There is little denying that Salah deserves to be acknowledged with a top-level salary, though there had long been concerns over whether the club could afford to sanction such a deal.
However, as noted by the Telegraph‘s Chris Bascombe, shedding the wages of both Origi and Sadio Mane in a short space of time will undoubtedly have helped Fenway Sports Group in rubberstamping the agreement reached by sporting director Julian Ward.
Bascombe notes that Origi, who officially left Liverpool after a successful eight years on Friday, was earning around £100,000 a week.
Meanwhile, Mane’s PR agent Bacary Cisse insisted at the end of June that his client had been paid “much higher” at Liverpool than the £100,000-a-week wage suggested in some sections of the media.
The Reds have effectively allocated most of the funds freed up by the departures of Origi and Mane towards Salah’s three-year contract, while Darwin Nunez, who is believed to earn around £140,000 a week, has also arrived to bolster the attack.
It seems to be a smart move by Liverpool, who were arguably overpaying for Origi given his minimal game time within Jurgen Klopp‘s squad.
That has often been the case with squad players shuffled through the Anfield exit in recent years, such as in the summer of 2020 when the club rid themselves of £300,000 a week in wages as Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne all moved on.
Liverpool face a difficult balancing act with Salah’s extension, of course, but he now stands as the prime example to the rest of the squad that elite wages are on offer to those who consistently perform at an elite standard.
This inevitably includes criticism, praise, or something in between, of a club’s ownership.
For example, Man United’s owners, the Glazer family, who are up there with the worst owners in the league, have recently been in line for criticism for once again paying themselves dividends out of the club’s coffers.
They are the only Premier League owners who do so.
This got me thinking about how Liverpool FC is run and the club’s owners, Fenway Sports Group; about football ownership in general at the top level of the game, and especially about recent decisions that didn’t go down well with the fanbase.
In particular, it took me back to an article I wrote about the club furloughing staff in April 2020, after Covid first hit.
That was probably the last time we were so idle in a football sense, but it was an enforced break rather than an off-season, and there wasn’t even an open transfer window to keep us going.Furloughs and fan groups
Many clubs, including Liverpool, made the decision to utilise the government’s furlough scheme, giving football writers who had no football to write about the chance to really go to town on a bad decision taken by the club they report on.
I wrote one such article for this site, and though I stand by what I wrote, on reading it back immediately after publication I asked for a couple of bits to be removed that I thought were unfair to the owners, who I think overall have been good for the club, helping it retain some tradition (not least Anfield itself) while at the same time making sure the club can move forward and continue (or as was the case when they arrived, return to) competing at the top level.
That said, the decision to furlough staff was still a bad one in the grand scheme of things, and as time has passed we can now delve more into the reasons why.
In hindsight, it’s possible FSG genuinely thought they were doing the right thing by utilising the government’s furlough scheme, to make sure staff were still paid when football stopped after the pandemic first hit.
There may have been a blind spot for them and a lack of political advice or guidance within their circles on labour issues in the context of UK politics, especially under a Conservative government (though even the Labour party itself seems to have problems with this at the moment!).
But, ultimately, people seemed to trust football club owners such as FSG to continue to pay their workers more than they trusted the Conservatives to assist workers without it being paid back tenfold further down the line – in the shape of extra hours worked in some sectors, lower or stagnated pay and a higher cost of living.
This is something which, little more than two years later, is now happening, with the government using Covid and (shamefully) the war in Ukraine as their excuse to target working people.
But back to FSG, and back to FSG backtracking, which they have on several things from ticket prices to furlough to the Super League fiasco – this could show two things:
The main thing that would have prevented the need for so many U-turns is prior fan consultation, and this is something the club have worked to improve – the new supporters’ board, for example.
It’s something all clubs can always improve upon, but the way Liverpool is run and its predominantly left-leaning fan base in the city means practical political assets, ideas and processes – including a supporters’ union, Spirit of Shankly – already exist.
This means they have stakeholders whose experiences and expertise they can draw upon, and the club have since improved dialogue with fan groups and representatives.
But this needs to be an ongoing process, and the enthusiasm for this shouldn’t be dampened as the Super League saga fades into the distance.Sporting direction
I think the best way to recruit for a top-level football club is to invest in youth football in the local area, building a state-of-the-art academy that supports players on and off the pitch with the intention of producing first-team players, while also topping up the team with the most suitable star players (or would-be star players) from around the globe.
This is pretty much what Liverpool now do.
They have invested in the facilities as well as the first team, and their recruitment is sensible, sustainable and also very effective.
They have reached a point where they are able to use the fees from players sold to almost entirely fund incoming transfers.
Even if some of those players signed and sold haven’t made the first team, in most cases they have improved and retained or increased their value, which in itself is good recruitment and provides a base from which to start a process that can almost be seen as trading one player for another.
This is perhaps no surprise given FSG’s background in baseball and their early adoption of recruitment methods which valued certain stats and data produced by certain players that give a team more of a chance of winning games.
It sounds simple, but football, like baseball, was entrenched in old scouting methods – hunches rather than clear judgement and research – which led to some questionable recruitment decisions.
Thanks to FSG, there’s now a combination of traditional scouting and advanced data that serves the club well.
While some clubs, such as Brentford and maybe Brighton, have used such methods to lift themselves to the Premier League and more than hold their own against the odds, Liverpool are a club that apply these methods at the top level of the game, with impressive results.
In the most recent campaign, they managed to finish just one point behind a Man City team who in any normal season would be runaway Premier League winners, while also winning both domestic cups and reaching a Champions League final.
It was their first FA Cup win in 16 years, following on from recent seasons in which the club won their first Premier League title in 30 years, their first-ever Club World Cup, another Champions League and a UEFA Super Cup for good measure.
The idea is often put forward (including sometimes by me) that the club don’t quite have enough depth in the squad at the start of each season.
But you don’t complete and compete in every game it’s possible to play, and for every trophy it’s possible to win – as Liverpool did in 2021/22 – if you have a weak squad.The future
When approaching the transfer window like Football Manager or Fantasy Football, it’s easy to forget the human side of managing a big squad and the practical side of transfers, as well as homegrown player quotas and matchday squad size.
Liverpool are also building a squad for the future with the arrival of players such as Diogo Jota, Harvey Elliott, Ibrahima Konate, Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez, Fabio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsay – who are all 25 or under going into the new season.
These elite young players need games, or else they will never progress and there will have been no point in signing them or building that academy structure in the first place.
It’s important to continue to hold owners to account as, given the historical importance of clubs like Liverpool and others around the globe, they should see themselves as custodians of an institution rather than just shareholders in a company or owners of a sports franchise.
With the redevelopment of Anfield and the club’s training ground and academy at Kirkby, FSG appear to be realising this, if they didn’t already, and putting the club on a good footing for future challenges.
Bill Shankly once said: “At a football club there’s a holy trinity – the players, the manager and the supporters. Directors don’t come into it. They are only there to sign the cheques.”
Maybe this quote’s appearance on Liverpool’s official website, suggests the owners fully agree.
Liverpool have confirmed the 19 players that will start pre-season at the AXA Training Center on Monday, and it includes two summer signings.
After more than five weeks on from the conclusion of last season, the Reds will regroup on Monday for the start of their preparations for campaign to come.
Like most years, there will be a staggered start to training after international games were played throughout the summer, leaving Jurgen Klopp with 19 senior players to start.
The squad will reconvene at Kirkby before seeing the international contingent arrive later in the week, with a trip to Thailand and Singapore then quickly on the agenda for games on July 12 and 15.
And the first day is to see both Fabio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsay both kickstart their Liverpool careers after sealing their move to the club from Fulham and Aberdeen respectively.
They are to be joined by experienced figures like Jordan Henderson, Roberto Firmino, Thiago, Joel Matip, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
It is the first pre-season for Luis Diaz after his arrival in January, while Sepp van den Berg is back with the group after his successful loan spell at Preston.
Fellow loanees from last season, Nat Phillips, Ben Davies and Neco Williams are also to be involved despite question marks over their future.
And Harvey Elliott, Ibrahima Konate and Caoimhin Kelleher are in from the start despite their international commitments during the summer.
The remainder of the squad, including Virgil van Dijk, Mo Salah, Alisson, Fabinho, Andy Robertson, Diogo Jota and Trent Alexander-Arnold will filter in later in the week.
Liverpool have six pre-season games confirmed and will first travel to Thailand and Singapore before making their way to Austria for a training camp, with Germany and a return to England to follow.Liverpool squad back for pre-season on Monday
Goalkeepers: Kelleher, Adrian
Defenders: Matip, Konate, Gomez, Phillips, Van den Berg, Davies, Ramsay R. Williams, N. Williams
Midfielders: Henderson, Thiago, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain
Forwards: Carvalho, Diaz, Elliott, Firmino
Liverpool have locked down key members of their spine to new contracts over the last year with Mohamed Salah the latest, so how long is every player locked in for?
The Egyptian offered a welcome surprise when his new long-term deal was confirmed, ending months of speculation regarding his future and ensuring fans have plenty of goals left to celebrate.
Salah became the latest key figure within Jurgen Klopp’s squad to put pen to paper, with further contract talks expected for other players with one year remaining on their existing deal.
New arrivals, meanwhile, have penned lengthy deals, which include Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz, Fabio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsay, while Klopp also extended to 2026 back in April.
Here’s the rundown of when every Liverpool senior player’s contract will expire.Goalkeepers
Alisson – 2027
Caoimhin Kelleher – 2026
Adrian – 2023Defenders
Calvin Ramsay – 2027
Andy Robertson – 2026
Ibrahima Konate – 2026
Virgil van Dijk – 2025
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 2025
Kostas Tsimikas – 2025
Nat Phillips – 2025
Joe Gomez – 2024
Joel Matip – 2024Midfielders
Fabinho – 2026
Harvey Elliott – 2026
Jordan Henderson – 2025
Curtis Jones – 2025
Thiago – 2024
Naby Keita – 2023
James Milner – 2023
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 2023Forwards
Darwin Nunez – 2027
Luis Diaz – 2027
Fabio Carvalho – 2027
Mohamed Salah – 2025
Diogo Jota – 2025
Roberto Firmino – 2023
Some have suggested that Mohamed Salah’s new £350,000 a week contract could cause a divide among his Liverpool teammates, but Jurgen Klopp doesn’t envisage any problems.
Salah’s new deal will make him the highest-paid player in Liverpool’s history, a big commitment to a player who turned 30 earlier this month.
It had appeared that this could be Salah’s final season with the Reds, with the Egyptian entering the final season of his previous contract in 2022/23.
However, on Friday, the club shocked supporters with the announcement that Salah had finally put pen to paper on a new deal that will keep him at the club until 2025.
There have been questions as to whether such a big financial commitment to a player entering his 30s is such a wise move, but writing in The Athletic, Simon Hughes has shed some light on Liverpool’s decision.
?? The ???? is still to come, strap yourselves in! pic.twitter.com/aycY7ZrhFI
— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) July 1, 2022
It’s been suggested that Salah’s £350,000 a week wages could lead to problems when negotiating new contracts with other Liverpool players and their representatives, with the wage structure showing some flexibility.
But Hughes reports that Klopp is “confident” that the “intelligence and humility” in his squad means this won’t be an issue.
Hughes goes on to write that many of Salah’s teammates view him as the team’s “main man” and says there is a “recognition” that he deserves such a big contract, one that is highly incentivised by performance-based criteria.
It’s also reported that “changes are afoot” in regards to Liverpool’s formation, given the alterations Klopp made to the shape of his midfield and attack towards the end of last season.
The Liverpool boss could consider using Salah in different positions in the years to come, with the Egyptian potentially an option to fill the No. 10 role if a 4-2-3-1 formation is used more often.
After the news was announced on Friday, Klopp again reiterated his belief that Salah’s best years are still to come, with the player himself also confident that he can perform at the very top way into his 30s.
Having handed him the biggest player contract in their history, Liverpool are clearly in no doubt that their star attacker can continue to break records in the years to come.
Liverpool announced a new long-term contract for Mohamed Salah on Friday, which is said to have made the Egyptian the highest-paid player in the club’s history.
After months of negotiations, Salah has put pen to paper on a deal that will keep him at the club until 2025.
The shock announcement was made on Friday, with Liverpool posting a video showing Salah confirming the news with the words “Salah stays.”
Now, the details of Salah’s new deal have been revealed, with The Times‘ Paul Joyce reporting that Liverpool’s No.11 will earn a weekly wage in excess of £350,000 per week, more than any other player in the club’s history.
Meanwhile, the Liverpool Echo report that, although Salah’s deal will see him earn less than £400k per week, the terms are heavily incentivised and could see him earn more than that figure based on player performance.
Writing in The Telegraph, Chris Bascombe claims Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, became increasingly confident that Salah would sign a new deal after his admission that he would rather see out existing contract than leave the club this summer.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 1, 2022
Earlier in the day, Salah’s agent Ramy Abbas posted a cryptic laughing face emoji from his Twitter account, leading fans to believe that his client was closer to a Liverpool exit than ever.
However, hours later, Liverpool’s official account responded to Abbas’ tweet with a facepalm emoji, before revealing Salah had in fact signed a new contract.
After months of intense negotiations, Salah’s new deal is another boost for the club ahead of the new campaign, with the Reds set to reconvene for pre-season training on Monday.
Salah stays! After months of negotiations, Liverpool made the shock announcement that their No. 11 had put pen to paper on a new long-term contract on Friday.Happy Friday from Mo Salah!
It’s official, Mohamed Salah is at Liverpool to stay!
Earlier in the day, the Egyptian looked closer to the Liverpool exit door than ever, after another cryptic tweet from his agent Ramy Abbas Issa.
Posting a laughing face emoji, Abbas’ tweet generated an angry reaction among Reds on social media, who assumed it was another tweet indicating that an agreement was no closer.
But when Liverpool’s official account replied to the tweet with a facepalm emoji, many started to realise he could have been referring to some good news after all.
Minutes later, the club posted a video of Salah confirming the news with the words ‘Salah stays’ – an announcement that will live long in the memory of Reds fans around the world.
The new deal is expected to make the Egyptian the highest-paid player in the club’s history, with reports suggesting he has agreed to a heavily incentivised deal worth in excess of £350,000 per week.
Enjoy your weekend, Reds!3 things today: Mo Salah you little dancer!
Tweet of the day and match of the night
We’re spoilt for choice! It’s a day that will go down in Liverpool Twitter history, but we simply had to go for the official announcement video.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 1, 2022
Enjoy a celebratory Salah contract drink while tuning into England taking on Israel in the Under-19 Euro final.
Reds defender Jarell Quansah scored the winner in for the Young Lions in the semis!
One of the main points of contention among fans when it came to talks over a new deal for Salah was that, having turned 30 in June, he would be breaking the club’s wage salary in the latter years of his career.
But the Egyptian firmly believes that he can thrive at the top level well into his 30s, similar to the likes of Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo.
And speaking on the confirmation of Salah’s new contract – which ties him down beyond his 33rd birthday in 2025 – Klopp agreed with his leading goalscorer.
“I have no doubt Mo’s best years are still to come,” he told the club’s official website.
“And that’s saying something, because the first five seasons here have been the stuff of legend.
“Fitness-wise, he’s a machine – in the most incredible shape. He works hard on it and he gets his rewards.
“His ability and his skill level gets higher each season, and his decision-making has gone to another level also.
“He is adored by his team-mates. As coaches we know we work with someone special. And the supporters have crowned him a king. So, very cool.
“It is just great news. It makes me smile thinking about it. He stays with us for longer and it means we can achieve more together.”
Salah’s new contract is the latest in a string of impressive deals in the early weeks of Julian Ward’s time at sporting director, having taken over from the long-serving Michael Edwards.
Though negotiations were protracted, Klopp paid tribute to the new sporting director for his role in tying down the club’s ninth-highest goalscorer of all time.
“It’s the best decision for us and best decision for him. He belongs with us I think. This is his club now,” the manager added.
“Of course it has taken a little time but that’s absolutely OK and the best things are always worth waiting for anyway.
“Mo is one of the best players in the world; it’s only normal there are things to sort when you are at his level.
“So big credit to Julian Ward and Mike Gordon for guiding us to this destination.”
It’s fair to say fans were given the best Friday feeling as Mohamed Salah‘s contract extension was announced, with the No. 11 delivering the “best news of the summer.”
Salah is now the club’s highest-paid player in history after agreeing to a new three-year deal worth in excess of £350,000 a week.
It comes following months of trepidation regarding his future and the prospect of heading into the new season with question marks over what comes next.
But those fears have now been allayed with his deal that runs until 2025, all signed, sealed and delivered in the most brilliant of ways, which included Salah, his agent and the club stirring the pot.
It created plenty of excitement for Reds with the news they had longed to hear finally coming to be, and there were plenty of brilliant reactions across social media.There could be no hiding the joy…
Great news about Salah! 3 years sounds about right, hopefully his new salary won't lead to a cascade of requests by others, and other players happy at what he's being given. But being committed to LFC = great. Also avoids circus of his final year, distractions, rumours, etc.
— Paul Tomkins (@paul_tomkins) July 1, 2022
MO SALAH, YOU LITTLE DANCER!!!
— Chris Hewitt (@ChrisHewittLFC) July 1, 2022
Wow. Wow wow wow.
That Salah will be in LFC’s top five scorers is now not in doubt. Sorry, Mr Liddell, he’s gunning for you. pic.twitter.com/Lxjw4FKZZK
— Andrew Beasley ? (@BassTunedToRed) July 1, 2022
This is better than any signing https://t.co/ICr5GtlVd5
— Jadine (@jel_lfc) July 1, 2022
— Jim Boardman (@JimBoardman) July 1, 2022
MO SALAH pic.twitter.com/P3NEYDjIzw
— The Redmen TV (@TheRedmenTV) July 1, 2022
Salah new contract is best news of the summer. Best player in the world in his position. A Talisman of LFC around the world. It's a weight off his and the club's shoulders.
— Red (@TaintlessRed) July 1, 2022
Salah, Van Dijk, Klopp, Alisson and Fabinho all re-signed for the next 3 year at least. An elite spine that isn’t slowing down while refreshing players around them, ie, Mane, to keep things fresh and rejuvenated. Opportunities for youngsters to come in.
— Lewis Bower (@LewisBower2021) July 1, 2022
Fantastic news about @MoSalah
The best signing of the whole summer. Thank you Mo you have made Liverpool fans everywhere ecstatic! ? YNWA https://t.co/nHamy1OoBo
— Sir Kenny Dalglish (@kennethdalglish) July 1, 2022
wait how many more years, Mo? pic.twitter.com/W90cdc5pY3
— nate (@natefc) July 1, 2022
At some point Liverpool were going to have to update the wage structure to reflect the level they’re at now. If you have several of the best players in the world, you need to reward them as such, or accept the fact they won’t hang about. Salah 100% justifies this shift.
— Joel Rabinowitz (@joel_archie) July 1, 2022And there was plenty of love for the announcement itself…
I always said that Ramy Abbas was a fantastic agent.
— Green Scouser (@Green_Scouser) July 1, 2022
I never knew a contract announcement could have that many Oscar-worthy character arcs
— El Mans (@el_mansfield) July 1, 2022
Some plot twist since this tweet.
Absolutely made up Salah is staying but his agent is still a whopper ? https://t.co/nz7WJBdUOE
— Jamie Holme (@JamieHolme) July 1, 2022
Brilliant video and brilliant set up with the “emoji fight”, fair play to all involved as they got me hook line and sinker. Great news! https://t.co/hk5Sazy667
— The Liverpool Way (@theliverpoolway) July 1, 2022
How ideal is this for him? He gets to be topless, his fave, and get a pay rise https://t.co/w2efyh0kuX
— John O'Sullivan (@NotoriousJOS) July 1, 2022
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) July 1, 2022
Salah’s contract is a significant piece of news on the cusp of Liverpool’s return to pre-season on Monday, completely removing any distraction regarding his future beyond 2022/23.
The 30-year-old is in fine form and shows no signs of slowing down, instead, it is the complete opposite and you feel a plethora of records are now to fall in his wake for years to come.
What a day, just the news we all needed!
For a long time, it seemed as though Salah would end his time with the Reds a year from now, with no progress reported in talks between the club and his agent.
But Liverpool pulled a surprise on Friday afternoon as they announced a new long-term contract for their No. 11, who has now committed until 2025 on terms upwards of £350,000 a week.
It is a significant deal for the club that comes at a time of great change at Anfield, with Sadio Mane‘s departure paving the way for the record signing of Nunez from Benfica.
Salah’s presence will be a constant during this evolution, and speaking to LFCTV on the announcement of his contract extension the 30-year-old expressed his desire to play alongside his new team-mate.
“I’m so excited, I want to play with him,” Salah said of Nunez.
“He had a good season last season and he played good against us, home and away.
“Also, Sadio is leaving. We’re going to miss him, we had good seasons with the club, so I wish him all the best.
“I wish Darwin all the best, to score many goals for us.”
With 156 goals in just 254 games, Salah stands as the ninth-highest goalscorer in Liverpool history, having leapfrogged Jack Parkinson, Sam Raybould and Harry Chambers in the campaign just gone.
He can overtake Michael Owen with another three goals, but it is clear that the Egyptian is aiming higher, with these personal accolades motivating him to stay and propel the Reds to further success.
“It’s great to see yourself at No. 9 in the highest goalscorers for the club, especially when you do it in a short time,” he continued.
“It’s something great.
“I said it many times before, the most important thing is to win trophies, but I think when you score goals and help the team to win games, that’s also what brings trophies.
“It’s something I’m proud of.”
Salah added: “Especially when you do it in a short time, as a winger, with many assists, it’s something great.”
The pathway to the Liverpool first team comes in a variety of forms, from the academy to the transfer window – but careers may also blossom in the leagues below.
Jurgen Klopp has created an environment that sees the doors to the first team open wide for those ready to make their mark.
But as we’ve all seen before, it does not always go to plan and Liverpool is not always to be the final destination, even if a player wishes it so.
That does not mean their career comes to a halt, but rather a redirection, and for many young talents that means looking to the wider English football pyramid to forge their careers.
Many have thrived and are now back in the English top flight, including Dominic Solanke (Bournemouth) and Harry Wilson (Fulham), while a move to America has benefited Tom Brewitt (Hartford) and Brad Smith (DC United).
But how are former Reds now plying their trade in the Football League coming along? Here is a look at who is thriving.Leading the way
There are plenty of ex-Reds currently forging their path in the Championship and below, and for a number of them it has proved successful.Cameron Brannagan – Oxford United
The 26-year-old is a regular for Oxford and has attracted plenty of interest outside of League One after a campaign that saw him named as the club’s Supporters’ Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year.
The midfielder, who made nine appearances for Liverpool, now has 188 to his name for Oxford – and last season made history by scoring four penalties in a single game!
A success story.Jack Robinson – Sheffield United
Once Liverpool’s youngest-ever player, Robinson is now a regular in defence for Sheffield United after making the move from Nottingham Forest in 2020.
At 28, he has established himself as a reliable Championship player but will be eager to help the Blades make their return to the Premier League.
Joe Allen – Stoke
A veteran by the standards of those above when he left Liverpool in 2016, Allen showed his commitment to Stoke despite their relegation and is only now seeking a move after 220 games.
A total of 140 of those came in the Championship, where he has been a mainstay in Stoke’s midfield alongside his international exploits with Wales.Jordan Williams – Bolton
Back to League One and you will find Jordan ‘MJ’ Williams, a former youth player who made a single senior appearance for the Reds and has since found his groove elsewhere.
The defensive midfielder is a regular for Bolton and has promotion experience as a result from League Two to League One, taking his total tally of Football League appearances to 156.
George Johnston – Bolton
Fellow Bolton player and Liverpool academy graduate, Johnston has found his home with the Wanderers and played the most minutes (3,938) of any player at the club in 2021/22.
The 23-year-old featured primarily in his favoured centre-back role but still chipped in with two goals and two assists.
Another consistent season could put other clubs on notice.Lloyd Jones – Cambridge United
Another player who has had his fair share of moves, Jones’ first season with Cambridge in League One was a successful one at centre-back, playing 28 games for his highest season return.
Jones has played the majority of his career in League One and League Two since leaving Liverpool.
Herbie Kane – Oxford United
The former Liverpool youth has bounced around from one club to the next but, despite that, he has taken it in his stride and last season impressed alongside Brannagan at Oxford.
The midfielder, still only 23, made 38 appearances in 2021/22, laying on six assists, for his second-highest career return to date.Lawrence Vigouroux – Leyton Orient
The goalkeeper shifted between leagues following his Liverpool exit in 2016, even heading to Chile, but has now found his place at League Two’s Leyton Orient, becoming an ever-present over the last two seasons.
Shamal George – Colchester United
Fellow ‘keeper George was released by the Reds at the end of 2019/20 and landed at League Two club Colchester United, earning plaudits for his role.
Named Colchester’s Player of the Year for 2021/22, the 24-year-old also earned a contract extension having been handed the chance to show his credentials.Conor Masterson – QPR
The 23-year-old centre-back was on loan at Cambridge and then Gillingham last season, and finally found the consistent game time he’d have been after with a total of 39 appearances across the two League One clubs.
His parent club, QPR, reside in the Championship, and the hope will be that he can now make that step up in the coming season.A mixed bag
Kevin Stewart – Blackpool
Ex-Liverpool academy coach Neil Critchley brought Stewart to Blackpool in 2021, but injuries proved troublesome during a season that saw him earn his first two caps for Jamaica.
It’s not been a huge success, but Stewart’s Football League journey did reap its rewards during his time with Hull – and he faces a decisive summer after Critchley’s move to Aston Villa.Ryan McLaughlin – Morecambe
There’s been plenty of bouncing around for McLaughlin in recent years, featuring for Oldham, Rochdale, Blackpool, Barnsley and most recently Morecambe.
Primarily deployed at right-back, the 27-year-old has been at home in League One but, having been made available for another summer move, there could yet be more highs and lows to come.
Ovie Ejaria – Reading
The playmaker started his Reading career, on loan, with plenty of excitement surrounding his name and while a consistent presence in his side, he hit a dry spell with injury playing its part.
At 24, there is plenty more to come, but Ejaria is currently going through what can best be described as growing pains in the Championship.Daniel Ayala – Blackburn
We’re talking veteran territory now with Ayala, who recently bounced back from an injury-interrupted 2020/21 to become an option at the back once more for Blackburn.
Ayala has been a mainstay in the Championship throughout his career, but a move away from the Football League could now be in the works after a turbulent two years with Rovers.
Two Liverpool stars have been nominated for an award in their homeland and Owen Beck looks set to move overseas. Thursday’s roundup is here!Salah and Keita up for African Men’s Player of the Year
Salah, who won the award in 2017 and 2018, will be one of the favourites to secure it again, having notched 31 goals in 51 matches for Liverpool last season.
He also won the Premier League‘s Golden Boot and Playmaker of the Year awards and was named Professional Footballers’ Association Men’s Players’ Player of the Year and Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year.
Guinea midfielder Keita enjoyed one of his best seasons for the Reds and remains one of the best midfielders from his continent.
However, ex-Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, who left for Bayern Munich earlier this month, will be the bookies’ favourite, having scored the winning penalties as Senegal beat Salah’s Egypt to the AFCON trophy and World Cup qualification earlier this year.
Mane won the award in 2019 and who could argue against him winning it again?
The winner will be announced alongside the other CAF Awards on July 21.3 things today: Beck in line for move abroad & Lijnders’ pre-season hint
Latest Liverpool FC news
Remembering a Liverpool legend 21 years after he sadly passed away.
Remembering the great Joe Fagan, who sadly passed away on this day in 2001 ? pic.twitter.com/638AkK7NeJ
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) June 30, 2022