Joel Matip is feeling positive and hopes a full programme of pre-season training will enable him to regain peak fitness.

An ankle ligament injury sustained in January saw the Liverpool centre-back’s 2020-21 campaign cut short.

However, he has stepped up his recovery by being re-integrated into team training in the opening week of the Reds’ camp in Austria and is upbeat about his condition.

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“I’m feeling good. It’s nice to be back in training with the lads and to just be playing, playing [with] the ball and being active,” Matip told at the team’s base in the state of Salzburg.

“I feel really good at the moment. I have a lot of sessions ahead of me but I am feeling good and I hope to continue like this.

“Training camps are always intense but for these moments we are here and these belong to pre-season and we try to enjoy it.”

The No.32 concurred with Joe Gomez, who described being back among his teammates as ‘everything’ after his own spell of rehabilitation.

“If you always train on your own it is quite hard for the head but if you are back with the team and can play, and also make jokes, that always helps,” Matip said.

“You are really looking forward to the moment when you are in between them [again]. It’s funny to be around them and you laugh a lot more than when you are on your own!”

Matip also reflected on the ill fortune of suffering a season-ending injury while Liverpool were already deprived of Gomez and Virgil van Dijk last term.

However, he went on to offer a glowing appraisal of the way the likes of Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams stepped up in the absence of Jürgen Klopp’s senior defensive trio.

He continued: “It was not a really good period for me, a lot of injuries, but I only can look forward and try to do my best and try to get in the best shape I can.

“They did great! They were thrown in and their performance was really great, especially under this kind of pressure. They did really, really well.”