Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has revealed he is happy with the club's pre-season preparations so far.
The club kicked off their pre-season with wins against Tranmere and FC Lucerne, matches which saw a number of fringe players given the chance to impress the boss.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.tv, Benitez admitted he had been pleased with what he had seen so far and singled out a number of players for praise. He said “Voronin played really well the other day and Lucas did well. It is also very positive to see Daniel Agger playing again. It's very positive for us to see the likes of Pacheco, Lucas and Voronin playing really well".
With two wins under their belt already and with friendly games against Hertha Berlin, Villareal, Rangers, Vålerenga and Lazio to come, Benitez admitted the players were working hard. The manager revealed: “All of the players are training very well and really hard. They are enjoying the training we are doing and that is the balance that you are looking for - to work hard and also to enjoy it.”
The Reds open their Premier League campaign against Sunderland on August 16th and the Liverpool manager admitted he hoped the hard work the players were putting in now would mean they were ready in time.
“They are working really hard and you need to push them. We have been doing some tactical and technical work and we have also had the players in the gym as well,” he said before adding, “The physical level of the players is getting better and better after every training session.”
After their excursions at Euro 2008 a number of the Liverpool squad have been given extended breaks including Dirk Kuyt, Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso, Alvaro Arbeloa and Pepe Reina.
However, Benitez admitted he was looking forward to getting all of his players back together. Benitez said: “We still have the four Spanish players on holiday and Dirk Kuyt arrived with us on Wednesday. When we bring all of the players back together it will be good for us because the understanding between them will be much better.”
The Liverpool manager also went on to speak about a couple of his new signings. Phillipp Degen and Andrea Dossena arrived at Anfield this summer and Benitez admitted hat his new defensive duo were settling in well.
"It is totally different for them because it is a new language,” he admitted before adding, “I was talking today with Philipp and Andrea and we were speaking in English and trying to encourage them. I think they are trying to settle down quickly.”
They are unlikely to be the last signings at Liverpool this season. The club have been strongly linked with moves from Gareth Barry and Robbie Keane and Benitez admitted new developments may still occur.