Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is delighted to be reunited with five players following a difficult start to pre-season.
Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah will join up with their team-mates in Switzerland on Monday after being given extra time off following international duty, and both Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri have recovered from injury.
Liverpool have suffered three defeats and a draw in pre-season – the latest friendly a 3-0 loss to Napoli in Edinburgh – and face Lyon on Wednesday before the FA Community Shield against Manchester City on Sunday.
When asked about their trip to Switzerland, Klopp said: “It’s massively important. I found out a couple of seconds ago that everybody is fine, the boys are coming in on time with their flights. So this afternoon we will have Shaq, Naby, Bobby, Mo, Alisson in training, which is great.
“We have a game on Wednesday and they can play 10, 20, 30 minutes, 30 probably. Apart from that we have to prepare for the game on Sunday, the first proper game of the new season.”
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England forward Sterling left the Merseysiders for Manchester City in acrimonious circumstances in 2015 in order to further his career.
But the 24-year-old insists there is not a trace of envy now his old club have been crowned European champions, particularly as he sees City’s Premier League prize as the greater.
City won their last 14 games last season to pip Liverpool by a point and retain their league title.
“I was really happy for them, happy for some of the players I know to lift the Champions League,” he said.
“The Champions League is massive for us as a club but our most important thing is winning the Premier League. That’s our main objective going into this season.
“Yes, it’d be nice to win the Champions League but first and foremost we want to win the league.
“The Premier League is your bread and butter, every weekend, what you train for every day. The Champions League is the nicer looking one, the most prestigious as people say, but every weekend you put in a shift, you’re going to tough places. You’re off to Crystal Palace, Burnley. It’s tough. You put so much time into it.”
City face Liverpool in the Community Shield next week before beginning their quest for a third successive Premier League title at West Ham on August 10.
Sterling, speaking during City’s pre-season tour of Asia, said: “It’ll be harder than last season. To do this three times in a row is a massive challenge for us. It’s a challenge we’re definitely up for.
“We’re getting our work in now, getting our fitness up, and we’ll be ready for the Community Shield against Liverpool. We want to be up and ready.”
Sterling, who signed a contract extension committing himself to the club until 2023 last November, is enjoying life at City so much he is happy to put his dream of playing overseas on hold.
He said: “From being a kid I always wanted to play abroad but I’m happy at Manchester City.
“Manchester is a lovely place, even though I live pretty much near Crewe. I love the little villages. I can go out, grab a bit of lunch and chill with my family without needing the city centre. We’re really happy up there.”
One of the chief reasons for Sterling’s happiness is his relationship with City’s inspirational manager Pep Guardiola.
The Spaniard has taken a keen interest in Sterling’s game since arriving at the Etihad Stadium in 2016, overseeing a development that has seen him become one of the most important players in the country.
Sterling said: “He talks to us as a group and you take information on. You learn. If you don’t learn, you don’t play.
“He helps me along the way in terms of little details, doing things a little simpler and taking a lot more care.
“If you don’t want to improve your own game then, or don’t want to look at yourself, then there is nothing Pep can do to help you.
“I take a lot of positives from him, purely by the way he carries himself, the way he sets those high standards. It rubs off. That has improved me the most – the standards he sets.
It makes sure I don’t fall from my standards.”Sterling enjoyed his most prolific season to date, with 31 goals for club and country last term, but he feels he can still do better.
He said: “It was a good season for me, as with a lot of the boys, but it’s trying to get better as a player.
“We’re all at an age where we all want to keep getting better. There isn’t any player (at City) who thinks they’re at their best. That is what drives us on to go on to do big things.”
Asked specifically where he feels he can improve, Sterling said: “It’s goals, goals that win matches. I thought I put in a good contribution but there is improvement.”
Sterling is determined to keep trying, even if things do not go right at first, as was the case in the Premier League Asia Trophy in China last week.
He said: “There are things I know I could do in a game and I’ll say, ‘I could’ve done that better,’ so I’ll get on the training field.
“Coming inside on my right foot is something I’ve been working on the whole of last season, even though I missed against West Ham the other day.
“I’ve been practising my penalties and if we get another one I’ll definitely take another one. This is what I’m doing every day and why I was so confident (against Wolves) but missed. There are little details.
“It’s down to yourself. If you don’t know what you need to improve on it’s never going to happen.”
Liverpool are facing growing criticism of their application to trademark the name ‘Liverpool’.
The Champions League winners have made an application to the Intellectual Property Office which, if granted, would ensure all revenue from those services and products using the word ‘Liverpool’ in relation to the club is channelled back to them.
Liverpool have stressed the trademark application will only be applied in the context of football products and services and chief executive Peter Moore has categorically stated local clubs using the name Liverpool “have nothing to fear whatsoever”.
However, City of Liverpool FC remain opposed to the move, which has previously been undertaken by the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea, Southampton and Everton.
“Our position is that no privately-owned business should be able to own the name of a city in any context and especially not in the football context in the city of Liverpool,” said a statement from the Northern Premier North West Division side.
“If Liverpool FC are granted this trademark they will effectively own the names of all these clubs and organisations and could force name changes or a license fee.
“We had contact yesterday from Liverpool FC who gave verbal assurances that we, nor any other local football clubs and organisations were the target of this application, and we, of course, accept the word of the club that we are not the target.
“However, the fact remains that the practical effect of the granting of the trademark is a serious threat to the future of our community-owned football club.”
City of Liverpool FC said discussions are ongoing with the Premier League club, who have refunded the £300 CoL FC have spent to date opposing the application.
Supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly have also voiced their opposition to the proposals.
“After a magnificent summer of optimism and celebration for LFC, it is hard to contemplate such a controversial, ill-thought-out move by FSG (Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group). It is one that will alienate the entire fan base,” said a statement.
“SOS strongly oppose the blatant monetisation of our football heritage. The name is not FSG’s to own, it is the name of our city, it is owned by its people. This must be stopped.”
Moore stressed, however, the club’s battle was primarily with off-shore, industrial counterfeiters.
“What we are trying to do is protect the football club, we are not looking to take ownership of ‘Liverpool’,” he told BBC Radio Merseyside.
“Right now we are under attack from large-scale manufacturing which is alluding to be official Liverpool FC merchandise.
“This is not an attack on local football and local vendors. We would never, in any way, go after those organisations.
“They have ‘fair use’ of their names. They have nothing to fear whatsoever.”
Discussions are ongoing with local sides and Moore said the club were looking at potentially drawing up a legal document which would give them official use of the name Liverpool in perpetuity.
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