Leighton Clarkson makes you wonder if there's anything Mohamed Salah can't do to a world-class standard.

Clarkson, on his first pre-season training camp with Liverpool's seniors, has been touted as one of the best table tennis players in the squad by Pep Lijnders. 

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"I thought I was good and came here thinking, 'Yeah, I can beat anyone.'" the 19-year-old admits to Liverpoolfc.com. "But Mo is a different level, he's in a league of his own. 

"I've seen Virg and Joe play, who look good but I've not played them yet. Trent and Curtis are the other ones I'd put in there, including me. So I'd say us six are probably the best. I'd say I'm around fourth. 

"Last night I played Trent and it was quite competitive, to be fair. He went and played Mo after it and got beat and there was a bat that was smashed, so you can understand how competitive it must be."

More importantly, Clarkson feels his footballing ability has been greatly enhanced by training with Jürgen Klopp's side in Austria and now France this summer. 

"I feel every single day since I started up here that I've improved every day," the midfielder says. 

"That comes from the manager, that comes from the players. Playing with better players gets you better as a player. I feel like I'm improving every day.  

"The professionalism [the players show], they're the players they are for a reason. 

"Everything off the pitch – such as dieting and how they prepare themselves before matches and training sessions – is unbelievable to see. 

"I have been with the first team for quite a while but getting to know the players every single day, it's something that doesn't come around too often. Obviously you pursue it and it’s just good getting advice."

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The 2020-21 campaign proved to be an important one for Clarkson's development. 

Having trained consistently with the first team, he earned his first Champions League appearance in December for the contest away at FC Midtjylland. 

He reflects: "I thought last season was probably a season that I needed. 

"I was training up here, getting all the confidence from the manager and then I was playing U23s games – I thought I did really well in those games. 

"When I got the opportunity to play in the Champions League, it was just one I tried to take and hopefully I did that."

On his targets for the rest of this pre-season, the Academy product concluded: "I'd just say try to get as fit as possible for the season – I feel that's all you can do. 

"Obviously impress the boss and hopefully I can be in and around it."

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