Jurgen Klopp says young players need time to adapt because they are often star-struck by senior team-mates, citing Adam Lallana as a top name Liverpool’s youngsters had to get used to playing alongside last season.
Liverpool are preparing to play eight friendly matches in the coming month, games Klopp hopes will highlight the progress made by the more youthful members of his squad, who he thinks will now feel more comfortable around the club’s top pros.
Asked about how this pre-season campaign could differ to 2016, the German explained how extra time with the squad last year should have helped to settle his emerging players.
Ben Woodburn, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ovie Ejaria were teenagers who tasted Premier League action for the Reds last season.
“Usually you always want to take the next step from one year to the next year,” Klopp told Liverpool’s website.
“You have to see how things fit and when the new players are in.
“Young players are one year older, that doesn’t make the biggest difference but being one year longer involved in the first team [does].
“They can make big steps because they are a little bit settled in a good way. They don’t feel as excited anymore about each day in training, thinking, ‘Oh my god, that’s Adam Lallana next to me’ and things like this. That can be a big difference.
“You have to probably make one or two steps back to then make five or six steps in the right direction. They are the same objectives.”