For Liverpool, it was the calm before the inevitable storm.
So much has been made of the atmosphere awaiting the Reds in Tuesday evening’s Champions League group stage match against Red Star Belgrade, with Jurgen Klopp inundated with questions about it during Monday’s press conference .
He also faced questions about his reasoning for leaving Xherdan Shaqiri back home in a bid to diffuse any political tensions, and so the German will doubtless by looking forward to just getting on with a game that could take the Reds to within touching distance of qualification for the last 16.
Here’s what we spotted from their Belgrade training session.
1. Return No. 1
Given all of the focus on just who wasn’t there, it would surely have been a relief for Jurgen Klopp that he was able to call upon Naby Keita as his side got down to business in Belgrade.
The Guinean hasn’t played for the Reds since coming on as a substitute against Manchester City a month ago, and Klopp seemed upbeat about his chances of playing.
“Yesterday was the first time in 100 per cent training so we will now have to see what we do with him for tomorrow," he said. "[The start] could have been a bit better, but only because of the injuries; all the rest was good.”
2. Return No. 2
Dejan Lovren had one of his regular one-game absences at Arsenal at the weekend, and so he’s back for this one too.
The debate over whether or not the Croatian belongs in Liverpool’s best defence is one that still rages on with every one of Joe Gomez’s excellent displays at the heart of the back four, but there’s no doubt about his own belief his ability .
"People always catch you on mistakes and they don’t look at the good things you do," Lovren said last week. Sometimes I think I don’t deserve the hate, I would say.
"If you look at Sergio Ramos, he has many more mistakes than me. But he is at Real Madrid. When you do a mistake but you win 5-1, 5-2 then nobody sees the mistake."
3. Another chance for Adam Lallana?
Adam Lallana might be thinking that he could be the main beneficiary of Shaqiri being left at home by his manager.
The Englishman certainly isn’t the player he once was, but Klopp remains a big fan of him as shown by the recent starts he was given in matches against Huddersfield and Cardiff.
This could be another one of those type of fixtures.
4. Mo Salah smiles
Remember when everyone turned into a body language expert after Mo Salah’s two goals against Red Star two weeks ago?
The Egyptian apparently proved he was unhappy by not exactly looking over enamoured having found the back of the net, but he then ruined everyone’s conspiracy theories by smiling after scoring against Cardiff a few days later.
He was grinning in Belgrade too, but maybe he was just thinking about *that* statue…
5. Klopp’s perfectly timed photo
Can he master this competition this season though?
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