Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp finally has his full squad to work with after forwards Sadio Mane and Danny Ings joined team training together with returning midfielder Emre Can.
Mane and Ings have been working separately from the main group as they finalised their recovery from knee injuries which ended their seasons in April and October respectively, while Can came back for pre-season testing at the weekend after extended lead following his involvement in Germany’s Confederations Cup victory in Russia.
New signing Andrew Robertson will also train with his new team-mates for the first time as his £8million move from Hull was competed while the majority were in Hong Kong for the Premier League Asia Trophy.
Liverpool fly out to Germany on Wednesday for a training camp and three friendlies against Hertha Berlin, Bayern Munich and either Atletico Madrid or Napoli and Robertson is likely to get his first outing on Friday in Berlin as first-choice left-back James Milner returned from the Far East with a minor thigh problem.
“Early assessments show that Milner’s problem is not serious but he will complete a specific training programme this week in order to manage his availability to Jurgen Klopp before rejoining his team-mates in their full pre-season schedule,” read a Liverpool statement.
Captain Jordan Henderson admits he has had to learn how to deal with injury frustration after a foot problem saw him miss the final three months of the campaign.
He has played in all four friendlies to date and is looking forward to the new season.
“I can’t remember the last time I had a full pre-season so hopefully this one I can stay injury-free, complete pre-season and be feeling good,” he told liverpoolfc.com.
“Hopefully that will stand us in good stead going into the new season. “As a player, you want to be back as quickly as possible and you might go through a bit of pain and a bit of discomfort just to get back out there, but sometimes that isn’t ideal and it could make it worse.
“That’s another thing I’ve learned probably over the last few months: sometimes you’ve got to listen to your body and not push yourself too much if there’s some pain.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
While Romelu Lukaku is best known for his strength and physicality, there is a lot more to the Belgian striker. His pace and finishing prowess makes him an ideal replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Manchester United.
The Old Trafford outfit have gotten used to playing with a big, strong striker after a season with Ibrahimovic, but Lukaku is a different beast who will give the team tactical flexibility. Manager Jose Mourinho will have more options in terms of how to set up his side than he did with Zlatan up front.
With Lukaku, United could switch from last season’s 4-2-3-1 formation to a 3-5-2, a system that will maximise the potential of their new striker and Paul Pogba, as well as allowing Marcus Rashford more chances to start.
United debuted this formation against LA Galaxy during pre-season in a 5-2 win over LA Galaxy. However, Mourinho has been experimenting with various formations this summer and there’s no guarantee that the 3-5-2 is the one he’ll pick.
What formation do you think is best for United?
Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta has warned Chelsea to learn lessons from their calamitous title defence two years ago.
Jose Mourinho’s men emerged victorious in the 2014/15 Premier League season, only to have a horrendous campaign an year later, when they finished 10th in the 2015/16 season.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Chelsea’s pre-season game against Bayern Munich in Singapore, Azpilicueta said, “After being champions, three years ago, we had a terrible season and we have to learn from this.”
“Obviously we know that after being champions of the Premier League, every team that we are gonna face, they’re gonna want to win more than before so we know that it’s gonna be harder but it’s what we’re working on that since pre-season to get into the best shape as soon as possible and to fight for it because it’s a big challenge.”
“We’re back in the Champions League, we are the current Premier League champions and we have a big season ahead of us,” he added.