Liverpool arrived in Austria on Monday morning to begin pre-season training ahead of 2021-22 - and for the duration of the camp, Pepijn Lijnders will be keeping you up to date by penning a special behind-the-scenes diary for Liverpoolfc.com.
The assistant manager will offer an unrivaled glimpse into life at the base in the state of Salzburg as the players are put through their paces in preparation for the forthcoming campaign.
In his first entry, Lijnders details what the Reds are aiming to get out of their stay in Austria and why pre-season training plays such a crucial role in forming the foundations for the next 10 months as the first sessions get under way...
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Today is the start of a new campaign for us as we begin our pre-season training programme in Austria.
I have to be honest, I love the pre-season; for the manager and the coaching staff, this is the moment where the new ideas and the good “old” ones are developed. Firstly, it’s all about creating habits and showing our standards.
We say a big welcome to Ibrahima Konate: just listen to James Milner and everything will be fine! Also, it’s a trusted welcome to all the boys who come back from their loan clubs; your experiences for sure will make us stronger during this pre-season.
Then for all the young talents who have come with us, our message is enjoy and keep this “updated” phrase of Bob Paisley in your mind – we search for a player who nutmegs Virgil van Dijk in training but steps politely aside for him in the corridor. Some football rules will never change, that’s what I love so much about this game.
And for all the others, let’s show why we are Liverpool in each session and success will follow us this season.
We will go through this pre-season in three stages. The first one is going back to basics with the idea that we want to control games by being dominant in each moment. Secondly, it’s going back to consistency and, thirdly, it’s about creating an us vs the world mentality. No distraction, focus on the process and the collective. Something that will only work when we have the whole team together. This should make that wherever we go and whoever we play against, we will be able to put our game into place.
During these three stages we will increase the volume of intensity. Our intensity. This energy and passion will make us ready to be competitive for the first game of the season. We will use this camp, each session, to improve our group of players with dedicated and specific team training. It is and was always about the team, it comes first, it’s about the collective. It made us who we are. This rule is a non-negotiable one, even in pre-season. Especially when you are going to play a pressing game it’s about “togetherness” and “readiness” to fight for the team. This spirit will be present in each exercise we will put in front of our players. Within this spirit anything is possible for our players; outside this, nothing is possible.
In this moment as I write this, I just said hello to all our backroom staff while boarding the plane. It’s great to see everyone fresh, ready and healthy. It’s a committed backroom team, obsessed to improve. Everyone has clear, defined tasks that make it our team behind your team. By your, I mean the fans. We are so proud that we have one of the most passionate and biggest supporter groups and just thinking about a full Anfield is giving me goose bumps.
This season we want to make you proud, with our type of football and our energy. We believe that the better we play, the more games we will play this season. That will be the target: play as many games as we can. Let’s keep creating memories together! That’s how Jürgen explains so well the essence of working for a club like Liverpool Football Club. Creating memories.
So, Austria is giving us authorisation to use this wonderful part of the country, its climate and facilities to prepare. We have been here last season and it’s just great to be back. Creating routines will be easier like this. As in life and in football, routines are what make people or teams consistent.
During our time at the training camp, I’ll do my best to keep you guys updated and offer you some insight into the work we’re doing here via my diary on the website.
Right, it’s time for our first training session. Let’s go!
Pep Lijnders was speaking to James Carroll