Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher is 'itching' for the start of the new season.
The versatile defender is set to return to pre-season training on Monday, along with the majority of Reds players at the club's Melwood training ground.
It will bring to an end just over a month's break since the end of the last campaign in May, and Reds vice-captain Carragher can't wait to get back to work with his teammates.
"I'm really looking forward to getting back into it. We've had longer than usual off this year and I want to get started now," Carragher told the official Liverpool website.
"At the end of the season you're ready for a holiday and a rest but by halfway through your time off the focus turns to the following season.
"You start getting excited again. I feel refreshed and ready. It's a new start and there's a new sense of optimism. Our form in the second half of last season was very good and we need to ensure we prepare well and get off to a decent start this season."
Traditionally a period of time that player's don't enjoy, Carragher believes the changes he's witnessed on Merseyside over the last 14 years of pre-season means the team will be in their best ever condition following assesment from the club's medical staff.
"It's certainly not like it was when I first started. It's not as gruelling as it used to be when there was a lot of running. We used to all run together but now we're split up into different groups," the veteran continued.
"The game has moved forward with sports science used more these days. Now everyone is assessed individually. There are heart monitors and blood tests, and the readings they take decides what work you are given.
"Everyone is given their own plan to ensure they are in the best shape possible to start the season. The days of coming back overweight and running it off are long gone. You would be in trouble if you came back like that."
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