Nathaniel Phillips is delighted to be back at work after completing day one of Liverpool’s pre-season training camp in Austria.

The centre-back is part of a 34-man squad reporting for duty in the state of Salzburg as the Reds’ preparations for the 2021-22 campaign get under way. caught up with Phillips pitchside following his lactate test on Monday – read on for our chat with the No.47…

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Nat, you’ve just done your lactate test on day one of pre-season here in Austria, how did you find it?

It wasn’t too bad. I felt good doing it and the other lads who were running with me seemed like they coped well as well so it’s a good start to the pre-season tour.

Did you keep yourself in shape over the summer, doing some fitness work here and there?

Yeah, of course. We get sent our programmes, which you have to do, and we’re always being tracked. You get your GPS monitor so even if you wanted to try to give it a miss you wouldn’t get away with it! But obviously we don’t want to do that, we want to come back feeling good, so that’s what I did: a bit of training at home, I managed to get away for a few days and got a bit of training done there, and I’m feeling ready to kick on with training.

How good has it been to see the lads and the staff again?

It’s been really nice - especially some of the lads who are injured as well, to see them back and knowing they can get involved in training. Seeing all the lads and the staff, it’s nice to be back amongst a footballing family.

The setting here is absolutely stunning - just how beneficial is it to have a change of scenery and train somewhere different?

I find the biggest benefit of the change of scenery with pre-season is that you’re all staying in a hotel together. You spend a lot of time with each other and any new lads that might come in, they can start to integrate into the group and we’re also being looked after 24/7 in terms of physios, diet and all that sort of stuff. It just gets you in the best shape possible to start the season properly.

Finally, are you looking forward to getting back together with the whole squad and coaching staff for sessions with the ball?

Yeah. Obviously it’s nice to have a break after an intense season but it doesn’t take long before you start missing it again so I’m really excited to get training and [have] a bit of competition with the lads, and obviously just get the feel of the ball again.