Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp declared ‘football is back’ after his side beat Norwich City 3-0 on Saturday evening.
Discussing the curtailed preparation to the season, he said: "We had two games against Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna, and they were really good games. It was a good sign that we're ready to go, but when you start the league it's different.
"We had to find our way in the game and scored three really nice goals because we forced them. It's a good start.
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"The boys are fit but you have to get used to the feeling again, that it's really exhausting but you can [still] go. You have to get over that point in the game, and we did, and hopefully next week we'll be fresher for longer.”
With some semblance of normality back in football as fans returned to football stadia across the country, Klopp paid tribute to the opposition.
"It's great to see the fans back and I hope that Norwich celebrated as well because they had an exceptional season. Their pre-season has not been easy [due to Covid-19 protocols], and facing us is not too easy, but we were really professional,” he said.
"We were not here to show the most exciting football, just to get the basis for the new season, and we did. Football is back."
Defender Virgil van Dijk was understandably pleased to have been part of the win after so long out.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “It’s amazing. It was a tough game. In the end 3-0 sounds comfortable but at times, especially at the end, we were making it difficult for ourselves. Maybe that's fatigue, maybe we can do better - we'll have a look at it.
"But to be back out there helping the boys... I just hope to continue that and see what it brings. I need games but the manager knows it, I know it. It's a good start and now we have time to recover for next week.
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"The first day of training with the group, you need to get back into normal habits, like shouting at people. It's just repetitions of normal habits. I made great steps in pre-season and this is another big step, so hopefully I can keep that going.
"Mentally it's tough. One day you're fully fit, the next you're full of medication and in pain. Everyone has their opinion [on what happened] and you read those things because you have nothing to do. [We had] more injuries in key positions so couldn't play our game, the way we want to play, with high pressure. The guys did a fantastic job to come through it. Hopefully we can build on it and stay fit because we can't take that for granted either."
Despite the strong start to the season, the Dutchman refused to speculate on another title challenge.
"The only thing we can focus on is the next game. It's exciting to see the Premier League like this, all the players coming back, and I enjoy it,” he stated.
"Thinking about our own team, if we stay fit, we have a good chance to be up there. To play against world-class strikers again and world-class teams, and when you can't predict where you will be at the end of the season, it's exciting."
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