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Wijnaldum raring to go ahead of Liverpool debut against AC Milan
San Jose (Calif.) — Liverpool star signing Georginio Wijnaldum is looking forward to his Reds debut at Levi’s Stadium on Saturday night. Speaking at a press conference ahead of the club’s preseason friendly tonight against AC Milan, the midfielder addressed his pre-season preparations and Jürgen Klopp’s training regime.
Wijnaldum didn’t appear in Liverpool’s friendly defeat to Chelsea earlier in the week, instead staying behind at Liverpool’s Palo Alto training base along with Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi, and Christian Benteke. However, the player finally has the green light to make his debut in the Milan clash.
“I was a bit disappointed I didn’t play against Chelsea but the staff decided it would be better for me to complete more training sessions first. Now I am looking forward to making my debut,” he said.
The twenty-five-year-old joined Liverpool’s preseason tour of the United States last week, having signed a five-year contract in a £23 million signing from Newcastle United. He was paraded around the club’s pre-season camp upon his arrival for PR purposes but is finally ready to get down to work.
He has already partaken in Jürgen Klopp’s famously intense training sessions as he looks to build a sustainable fitness base heading into the new season. “The training has been totally different to at Newcastle,” he said. “The style is different as we played on the counter-attack there. This is more like how the training was in Holland.”
Wijnaldum is one of seven summer arrivals at Anfield alongside Joel Matip, Alexander Manninger, Ragnar Klavan, Loris Karius and Sadio Mane. Having taken over the Liverpool helm last October, Klopp is satisfied that he has now put his distinctive spin on his squad.
“This is my squad now,” Klopp said, per Sky Sports. “After all the transfers…this time it is my team. There are probably no players here anymore I don’t want. There are no signings I didn’t want, we have not sold anyone I didn’t want to.
“And if you have seen them in training, there is a special quality that we did not have last year.
“Above all, you can see we have created a special atmosphere, not only in our team but with our fans.”
Saturday’s game adds to the exciting palate of soccer in the San Francisco Bay Area this summer, with Arsenal having beaten the Major League Soccer All-Star team on Thursday at the San Jose Earthquakes’ Avaya Stadium. Although Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger is averse to extended pre-season tours, Klopp welcomes the opportunity to give his team the opportunity to prepare for the coming season against Europe’s finest, with Saturday’s clash being the sixth of nine warm-up games for the Reds this summer.
Wijnaldum will be fighting for playing time alongside a star-studded cast of teammates in the midfield but is happy to be flexible in terms of his position. “I can play in different positions and if I can do what I’m good at, score goals, show how good I can play football, then it’s OK with me,” he said.
“It’s always great when you get to show what you can do.”
The Netherlands international is already Liverpool prepare for a grueling battle for Champions League football in the upcoming Premier League season.
“This is a club with a great history which has won a lot of titles and I can’t wait to get started.”