As the majority of players return to training this week after a period of rest and relaxation, others are ready to enter into some fierce summer competition.

The Copa America began last night in Argentina, and will see a whole host of Barclays Premier League stars battle it out for South American supremacy.

Lucas Leiva and Luis Suarez – two of Liverpool’s star turns last season – will be integral members of the Brazil and Uruguay squads, respectively, and will both be aspiring towards a spot in the final on July 24.

Naturally, the duo will return to Melwood far wearier than the majority of their Liverpool colleagues, and Reds first-team coach Steve Clarke says they will be handled with care upon their Merseyside arrival.

"We wish them all the best for their countries and we'll look after them," Clarke told Liverpoolfc.tv.

"It'll be up to us to make sure we put them in at the right time.

"The most important thing is they get adequate recovery time.




 

"Obviously we'd like all the players to come in on the first day of pre-season to do a full pre-season and be ready for the start with us, but it's not the case.

"Now in football you just have to accept that different countries and different continents have their own tournaments and their own times.

"It's up to the boys to go there and do their best for their countries. When they come back we'll assess the situation, assess them fitness-wise, physically and mentally - then we'll decide how we fit them into our training schedule.

"If they are ready to start the season, fine - if they need a little bit longer to recover, that's why you have a big squad. It will give other people a chance."

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