Jurgen Klopp had to talk Jordan Henderson into taking a full summer holiday after the Liverpool captain asked to report back to training early.
Henderson has three weeks off following the World Cup, which means he is not due back to work until August 5.
He has effectively been ruled out of the opening Premier League weekend fixture with West Ham as Klopp wants his players to complete a full pre-season.
Trent Alexander-Arnold may be given permission to return a week earlier, partly due to the fact he did not play much in Russia, but also because of his age making fatigue less of a concern in the season ahead. But Klopp insists Henderson have maximum recovery time.
“It was a hard fight to convince him that he needed a holiday,” said Klopp. “I knew it would happen. On the phone I said 'crazy'. Jordan needs a holiday so that means August 5 he will be back. Dejan (Lovren) had a party in Croatia and played a day later so he will be back on August 6. That would mean five days training after three weeks holiday.
“I hope we are in a situation where we don't need to think about using these two (against West Ham).
“With Trent I have a special agreement. He wanted to be in earlier as well. As he's very young I said, 'Okay, have two weeks holiday and then we'll speak and see'. If you asked Trent he would be good to join us in two weeks. But I'm not sure I will do that. I want to have them desperately but the season is really long. It will be difficult to involve them against West Ham but I don't want to make that line up today.”
Klopp rejected the idea Henderson and Alexander-Arnold are eager to return because they are worried new signing Fabinho or fit-again Nathaniel Clyne threaten their position.
“That would mean they weren't confident and that makes no sense,” he said.
“Hendo believes 100 per cent in training. He feels like he needs training every day, a bit like Millie (James Milner). They are old-fashioned professionals, which I like.
Where does Fabinho fit into Liverpool's plans?
“Sometimes the manager has to say, ‘Stop! Make a break!’
“They shouldn't be worried about anything like that because we'll need them all. Trent was flying. He could probably play three years in a row but that wouldn't make sense.
“I think three weeks holiday is really okay. Over the season we have days off. I don't want to sing a sad song but for players who play for their countries, three weeks in the summer is their holiday. Not too much but it's okay and they are used to it. In situations when we can do it, we give some time off. The Champions League starts again on September 18, until then they don't have games every three days.”