LONDON • Juergen Klopp has told his players to prepare for a pre-season boot camp featuring triple training sessions and 7am starts, reduced holidays and summer fitness programmes in an attempt to turn Liverpool into one of the Premier League's fittest teams.
Despite the English football club reaching next Wednesday's Europa League final against Sevilla and having overseen a steady improvement since taking over as manager last October, Klopp is looking to use pre-season as a springboard for the new campaign, with enhanced fitness at the heart of his plans.
The club have also convinced Mona Nemmer, Bayern Munich's highly respected nutritionist, to join them.
While the process is aimed at making Liverpool as physically competitive as they can be, Klopp also wants to identify the players who are most able to buy into his exacting methods, with the only concession being a staggered return to action for those who are involved at this summer's European Championship in France.
As well as participating in the International Champions Cup in the United States, where they will face Chelsea and AC Milan, Liverpool will also play four friendly matches, against Tranmere Rovers, Huddersfield Town and Barcelona - the latter possibly at Wembley - among the fixtures being lined up.
Klopp, though, is not interested in the results that Liverpool achieve in those games - he believes that friendlies are an extension of training, with the emphasis being on fitness rather than victories.
"It's triple training sessions, of course," the Liverpool manager said.
"The problem with pre-season is that for the first three weeks we have 15 players who will have been away at the Euros and we also have to see how the squad is changing.
"On another planet we would have six weeks together training because in this league it is the only time that you can train."
Emphasising that Liverpool "are now really fit", Klopp said that his players will need to make sure their levels do not drop during the summer and that each of them will be given a tailored fitness programme so that they return to training on July 2 able to hit the ground running.
"Football is about training and all that we have done is because of the work we've done together," he said.
THE TIMES, LONDON