The beginning of pre-season is a real eye-opener to see which players take care of their bodies during the summer.
Upon their return to clubs, players undergo intense fitness tests. And that’s before the gruelling sessions and friendlies begin.
In Roberto Firmino’s case, he might have had one too many pies over the summer break.
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Liverpool players returned to training ahead of the new season as Jurgen Klopp’s revolution gets underway.
The German’s system requires his players to exert great effort over 90 minutes, and fitness coach Andreas Kornmayer has been brought in from Bayern Munich to ensure Firmino and co. are in tip top shape.
And image of the Brazilian at training show he might need to stay after training to get some extra work in.
(Image via Empire of the Kop)
Just look at those cheeks. Did Firmino spend the whole summer at a chocolate factory?
Well, no. He regularly updated his social media feeds with holiday snaps after missing out on Brazil’s squad for Copa America Centenario.
But as well as sporting a new haircut, Firmino seems to have returned with a few extra pounds. The snap might just have been shot from a bad angle but, regardless, Firmino will be tested to the max before competitive football begins.
Check out the response from fans on Twitter.
Kornmayer, who worked with Louis van Gaal, Jump Heynckes and Pep Guardiola in Bavaria, arrived at Anfield in April with the sole goal of building a team that can last an entire Premier League season.
Klopp noticed the 41-year-old’s work when he was the manager of Borussia Dortmund, and was impressed with the fitness of Bayern’s players.
“Don’t forget,” the Liverpool manager said, per The Guardian, “the 2013 treble-winning team of Bayern was unbelievably strong and they had all their players fit until the end.”
Mignolet expects a tough summer
Simon Mignolet is fully aware of what to expect from this pre-season.
“The gaffer wants us to work really hard in preparation for next season to make sure we are fit and can deal with the intensity and his demands,” the Liverpool goalkeeper told Goal, per Liverpool’s website.
“We weren’t able to train much with all the games we played - the matches were like our training - so this gives him a chance to spend more time working on everything he expects from us.
“In the gaffer’s seven months here we’ve seen that we’re heading in the right direction and in pre-season he can put his stamp more so on us and implement his thinking more.
“Those games in the ICC (International Champions Cup) against such big teams is the best sort of preparation. It will be a great workout and something to look forward to.”