Liverpool’s 2023/24 season has officially started after the first senior stars of The Reds arrived at the AXA Training Center on Saturday for the start of pre-season training.
The club confirmed last week that the eight senior Liverpool players who had not been called up for international duty would all report this weekend. Of course, Adrian, Stefan Bajcetic, Fabinho, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Darwin Nunez, Nat Phillips and Thiago Alcantara were all pictured at the Reds’ training complex as preparations for the season got under way.
And while Thiago was not pictured in training clothes or taking part in any drills, having seen his campaign come to an early end with hip surgery, the other seven stars were all photographed being checked over by club staff before starting work in the gym and/ or out on the field.
As a result, Bajcetic has returned from injury, having missed the end of his breakout campaign with a kidnapping problem, as he was pictured both in the gym and performing ball practice on the field. Meanwhile, Calvin Ramsay himself returned from injury following knee surgery, having started pre-season with the Reds as agreed, before joining loanee Preston North End on 15 June.
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The Scotland international wasn’t the only previously undisclosed player pictured at the AXA Training Center on Saturday, with Academy goalkeeper Jakub Ojrzynski also snapping at the gym after spending last season on loan at Radomiak Radom in his native Poland.
Liverpool’s senior internationals, including summer signings Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai, will report for pre-season training on Tuesday (July 11), with the exception of Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott. The pair both played for England as they won the European Under-21 Championship on Saturday, and will join at a later date as a result. Academy goalkeeper Vítezslav Jaros could also return at a later date, having represented the Czech Republic in the tournament.
The first friendly match for The Reds will take place in Germany against Karlsruher SC on Wednesday, July 19, before Klopp’s men take on Greuther Furth on July 24. The clashes with Leicester City and Bayern Munich then follow in Singapore on July 30 and August. 2 respectively, before a final exhibition game on home soil against SV Darmstadt 98 at Deepdale Stadium in Preston North End on 7 August.
As is always the case in pre-season, a number of Liverpool youngsters are expected to be in the first team for their trips to Germany and Singapore. And while not pictured on Saturday, the Reds’ under-21 and under-18 teams both reported to the AXA Training Center earlier this week for the start of their own pre-season preparations, with several of the club’s younger players posting updates on social media after their return to training.
The ECHO understands that the likes of Ben Doak and Bobby Clark were both part of the Academy group, anticipating the expected involvement in the first team in the coming weeks. Tyler Morton was not among the group, however, having seen his season-long loan at Blackburn Rovers end with a broken metatarsal bone, while the midfielder was believed to be still in rehabilitation.
Despite Morton’s absence, almost enough Academy players were believed to be back at the AXA Training Center last week, including Luke Chambers after a successful half-season loan spell at Kilmarnock, despite recent transfer links with Bayer Leverkusen. Club sources suggest a move to the Bundesliga is not yet close, despite recent reports in Germany, with the Reds traditionally giving younger players a chance to impress in pre-season before deciding whether to be promoted to the first team, staying with the youth level, or leave on loan.
Academy striker Paul Glatzel was also part of the younger group at the AXA Training Center after an injury-plagued three years despite his contract expiring at the end of last season. Liverpool confirmed in the club’s keep list that the 22-year-old had been offered a new contract, with it unclear if he has accepted an extension at this point.
After being forced to move to Newport County on a season-long loan spell, a season-ending hamstring injury ended him prematurely in February. Adam Lewis is also back at the AXA Training Center.
Despite reports that his contract also expired this summer, the 23-year-old remains under contract at Anfield. He revealed in January that he actually has two years left on his contracthaving last signed an extension in the summer of 2020, but club sources expect him to move again this summer, either on loan or permanently.
However, a youth player who will not report to the AXA Training Center is Kerron Samuels. The 16-year-old, who joined Liverpool from Chelsea as an Under-14 player, made nine appearances for the Reds’ Under-18 side last season, but has confirmed on Instagram that he will make a summer move to fellow Premier League side team completed. Brentford.
Another player to leave the club is Elijah Gift. As first reported by ECHO, he has now joined Athletic Bilbao.
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