As Ibrahima Konate sends out the initial signal, Liverpool is planning a new relationship.
Ibrahima Konate, smiling and sweating, exuded a pleasant fatigue.
Jurgen Klopp, on the other hand, could only see the funny side of things.
Klopp handed his new £36 million man the official introduction after letting off one of his signature hearty guffaws.
The Liverpool manager exclaimed, “Welcome!”
“So, how did your first session go?” he said, to which a fatigued Konate responded lightheartedly that it was “easy.”
The self-assured shrug and accompanying smile exuded the lighthearted bravado of a player eager to make a name for himself among his new teammates.
Beyond the laughing and niceties with his new management, Monday afternoon was likely a baptism of fire for Konate.
During his time with RB Leipzig, the France Under-21 international established himself as one of Europe’s most highly regarded young defenders, but life at Liverpool, particularly under Klopp, is a whole new level of difficult.
On the first day of pre-season training, famous taskmaster Andreas Kornmayer gets down to business with the dreaded lactate tests.
Following their summer vacation from football, the tests examine each player’s base fitness levels, and the squad must run a specified circuit in a time that drops after each lap, with a short rest in between where their blood is tested for lactic acid.
Players are required to drop out if they exceed a specified lactic acid threshold or do not complete their lap within the allocated time.
Kornmayer, Liverpool’s Head of Fitness and Conditioning, is the drill sergeant, whipping the players into shape during the early post-holiday weeks before the season begins.
Konate can now officially call himself a Liverpool player after what was clearly an intense session.
The first day of the summer training camp is over, but Konate and the rest of the 34-man squad in Salzburg are just getting started.
The next few weeks, on the other hand, will provide Klopp with plenty of data to help him plan for what comes next in the Reds’ defensive department.
Last season’s struggles in the middle of the backline were well known.
Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, and Joe Gomez all suffered season-ending injuries. The summary comes to a close.