Georginio Wijnaldum has told his Liverpool team-mates they have to be ready to carry the burden of high expectations ahead of the new campaign.
The Dutchman, who joined last month from Newcastle United, played 73 minutes of Saturday’s 4-0 over Barcelona as Jurgen Klopp’s side offered a hint at what may be to come.
And Wijnaldum welcomed any increase in optimism that is likely to come off the back of that result at Wembley.
“If you play for Liverpool, expectations will always be there. We have to get used to it,” said the attacking midfielder, who will hope to make his debut in Sunday’s Premier League match at Arsenal.
“It’s a big club. It’s great. After the game at Wembley, we were walking around to thank the fans. But they told me there were so many fans in the Europa League final too, that there were 70 per cent Liverpool fans. We have a lot of supporters, true supporters, who are always behind the team.
“We don’t play to surprise people. We play to win games. How people think, we can’t control that. The focus is not on surprising people, only the things that we can control, the way we train and the way we train on the field.”
Along with fellow pre-season signing Sadio Mane, Wijnaldum is expected to give Liverpool added verve and quality not only in the transitional phase, but also in front of goal.
Wijnaldum was a rare shining light in a disappointing Newcastle campaign last season, scoring eleven goals in 38 league games, from his primary position on the left wing.