Jürgen Klopp is delighted that Liverpool’s preparations for 2018-19 are officially under way after pre-season training began on Monday.

The boss welcomed 26 members of his squad, including new signings Fabinho and Naby Keita, to a sun-drenched Melwood for a day of physical testing ahead of the first of nine friendlies - against Chester FC on Saturday - his side will play before the new campaign begins.

Liverpoolfc.com caught up with Klopp at the training ground to discuss the arrivals of Fabinho and Keita, Mohamed Salah’s new contract, welcoming a number of players back from injury and more.

Watch the interview below, or read on for a transcript of what the manager had to say…

On his summer holiday…

Not too bad, not too bad. Like here, we had the nice weather, so it was good - a nice rest. It was a perfect time with family and friends, but now to be honest I am happy to be back. It’s even better that it is for sure the best summer since I’ve been in England, so it starts very positive.

On starting to plan for a successful 2018-19 from the first day of pre-season…

That’s the plan. We are always ambitious, we are still ambitious, so we did a few nice things in the last couple of years, but we know as well that we can still improve so we want to build on the things we’ve achieved so far. We know all the good things, we know all the not so good things. Life is always [about] learning from your experiences, I hope we can show that. The first day is a testing day so the boys have to show how they worked through the summer period. I had a rest apart from being on the telephone for plenty of hours, but the boys will obviously have a programme - and if  they did it the tests will be good and we won’t have to do that much physical work, but if they didn’t it will be a little bit more intense!

On having Fabinho and Keita among those starting training…

Very, very happy to finally have Naby here. It took a while. Fabinho is also here and that’s perfect for the moment. It’s even better they can start from the first day with the training because they have to learn the most, they have to adapt to our style of play. We have nine games until the season starts and we will need them all. They all are important in a different way. They are here, we can start, that’s good.

Photos: Fabinho and Keita join familiar faces at Melwood>>>

On Salah’s new deal…

It is [great news], but it will not be a surprise that I have known this for a few days longer! It is a fantastic sign, I love it. It only shows the big difference this club has made. For the boys, they really know we are back on track. We are not where we want to be, but we are on a good way. These kind of players like him and Bobby [Firmino], they want to stay and be part of this in the future and that’s really a fantastic sign. It’s a big achievement for all of us. I really think the atmosphere around the club is again exceptional. That is what we all enjoy over the season and now we know that for quite a long time Mo Salah will be a part of it.

On Salah thanking his teammates for his success last season…

Because he is smart, he is a smart boy. He knows it. He is not the physically strongest player in the world and a football game demands a lot of you from the physical side, so he needs these situations where he can show his skills. The boys worked really hard to bring him into this situation and our game developed a lot in the last year. It was not the same game as [in] the first matchday and the last matchday, or matchday 25 when we were maybe in the best shape, because we got used to each other and knew about the strengths of each other. It was really nice to watch and nice to work on. He knows he needs help [from his teammates] and that he says it shows he is a smart person.

On welcoming players back into the fold after injury…

It always feels a little bit like they are like a transfer as well. Joe Gomez was out for a long time, but he was out in a very decisive period in the season after a very good season which he played, so it’s very good to have him back. It’s fantastic to have Joel Matip back, especially because Dejan is still at the World Cup and we wish him all the best for that – there’s no problem with having a final of England against Croatia! That’s the situation [and it’s] really cool. 

Clyney was already involved again in the last part of the season, but of course he’s as well like a new addition to the squad. The boys coming back from loan [too]. And now, it’s ‘let’s go’. It’s an intense time, but of course a very, very important time. You know how the season is, we don’t have a lot of time to do proper training in the physical department over the season, so we have to set the basis now.

That’s what we will do, we’ll not start like crazy because the boys had not the longest holiday in the world but they had a holiday so they need to get used to the boots again, that’s how it is. Whatever they do [during the summer], it’s not on a football pitch, it’s not in football boots so it’s a lot of running, athletic work, stuff like that and then we start involving the football again and first of all reach the level we had last year and then try to improve from that point. So far, so good and how I said, let’s go.

All nine of the Reds’ pre-season friendlies will be shown live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO (excludes USA and Italy). Click here to sign up for either service.

Klopp's side will host Torino FC at Anfield in their final pre-season friendly on Tuesday August 7. Get your tickets now.

Get the latest LFC news direct to your smart speaker
Never miss a beat Google Amazon
Liverpool players train at Melwood

Recap: Live from Melwood on day two of pre-season