New Liverpool defender Joel Matip is leaving no stone unturned in order to be ready for the start of the new season. The Cameroon international joined his new Reds teammates on the first day of pre-season training on Saturday [2 July] but is already preparing to put in extra work to ensure he can cope with the intensity of the Premier League.
Matip became the Merseysiders' first signing of the summer after agreeing to leave Schalke at the end of his contract. The 24-year-old signed a pre-contract agreement to move to Anfield in February and formally begun his career with the Premier league club after taking part in the first training session ahead of the new campaign.
Having been an ever-present for Schalke in the Bundesliga last season, playing every minute of all 34 league games last term, Matip is no stranger to the physicality required to last an intensive season in one of Europe's top leagues. But the Liverpool defender admits he still has work to do between now and the start of the new term with regard to his fitness.
"I am ready for it [English football] but I also have work to do on my body," he told the Liverpool official website. "This is another league, so I will have to work on my body to play here and to be physically strong [enough] for the Premier League.
"I decided to do it myself, but I think the coaching staff and manager will help me reach this level and to be fit for the season. Of course, the Bundesliga is at a high level. Maybe it's a different level, but it's also a high level and I think I have got enough to play here."
Liverpool's extensive pre-season schedule will give Matip ample opportunity to get up to speed before the season starts on 13 August. Following a flurry of domestic-based games including against Tranmere Rovers and Wigan Athletic, the club travel to the United States to face Roma before facing Jurgen Klopp's former club Mainz at the newly opened Opel Arena.
Three matches in the International Champions Cup follow, which sees them return to America to take on Premier League rivals Chelsea and Italian giants AC Milan. Their preparations conclude with a match against Barcelona at Wembley on 7 August.