If, as Sadio Mane suggested, fatigue is in the head, then it helps as an elite footballer to have a psychologist attached to the team.

And a physiologist, head of medical services, a head of fitness and conditioning, medical rehabilitation and performance manager, rehab fitness coach, first team fitness coach, masseur, head of nutrition and four physios, a specialist team of 10 people in fact, who design and implement a scientific programme aimed at getting the squad in the best physical shape.

Most travel with the first team. At this level, with the fixture list and travel a successful team is forced to follow, it isn’t just necessary, it is essential. Even a brief look at Liverpool ’s schedule after the Super Cup final in Istanbul tells you that.

They didn’t finish the game until almost 1am. With the trophy lift and celebration, it was 1.30am before they left the field, and Jurgen Klopp’s press conference didn’t start until 2am… with Sadio Mane coming afterwards.

That is why, at 3am in the mixed zone, as the night’s heroic figure Adrian paused to talk about his first ever trophy in his first ever start for Liverpool, Klopp himself emerged and shouted over: “Adrian, come on, we have a game Saturday.”



Liverpool triumphed over Chelsea in Istanbul

They arrived back at their Istanbul hotel at 3.30am, but two players – skipper Jordan Henderson and James Milner – were chosen for drug testing, and didn’t return until 4am.

With a game at 3pm on Saturday, that leaves precious little time to recover from 120 draining minutes in almost 30- degree heat, on a humid, airless night. It takes almost military precision to get players ready so soon after such a draining effort.

It starts before the game, with a carefully planned diet – food weighed and programmed to ensure the right nutrients at the right levels, and vitamin supplements, electrolytes and minerals.

Even on the final whistle, the team of physios distributed drinks which are carefully prepared, with the right balance of hydration, salt and electrolytes to replace lost fluids. Then food is handed out in the form of digestible protein, to return energy levels and protect muscle mass against wastage.

There would have been ice baths too, but the facility was not available in the stadium, and it was too late at the hotel. So instead, recovery is planned in forensic detail by the team of physiologists.



Van Dijk helps Fabinho as the Brazilian battles a bout of cramp

That means massage, treatment and most importantly of all rest. Liverpool stayed in Istanbul rather than flying straight back, because any flight at 5am would mean not return to Merseyside until 9, and an afternoon training session.

Instead, they stayed and trained in Istanbul – a simple recovery session for those who played, nothing more – before flying back to Liverpool, where the players were sent home to get back some of the sleep they were denied.

Those with knocks would have treatment, and every player will be tested on Friday where they will conduct their one serious training session to concentrate on the game against Southampton on Saturday.

Players are weighed to judge how much fluid has been lost, and sweat tested to determine their salt and mineral balance. At this data is collated and diets tailored accordingly.

The return to Melwood allows full use of facilities, and crucially computer analysis of the previous game. The benefit, is one night at home in a familiar bed.

Then another flight to the south coast on Friday afternoon, another hotel, and another training session – largely planning, loosening and stretching – on Saturday morning before the game.



Mane reckons fatigue is in the head

The medical analysis is so good now, that any players with serious issues of fatigue are flagged up, and the information given to Klopp before he makes his team selection. He will be told, who may be at risk of injury, or who is not at the level for the intensity of the Premier League.

The session on Friday is again aimed at recovery, but there will be planning too, a walk through of the tactics to be employed, and also a technical meeting where analysts will present crucial information on the opposition.

Klopp is an emotional coach, but also cutting edge in his detailed preparation too. He designs plans for every opponent and tweaks his tactics for every game. There is no adherence to the old Liverpool mentality of ‘not worrying about the opposition, let them worry about us’.

But he keeps it relatively simple for the players, getting across a couple of important points clearly. And at the core of everything is the mantra of three Rs – rest and recuperation, along with the right refuelling.

That is how the likes of Salah and Mane played more than 50 games each last season, and how they were relatively ‘lucky’ with injuries during a historic campaign.



Gomez admitted to being “very tired” as he left the pitch

It is not luck though. It is science, with Liverpool studying and learning from the programmes implemented by some of the tops sports teams in the world – with British cycling and Team Ineos principle Dave Brailsford a Liverpool fan, who has had connections in the past.

Liverpool have also used the former British cycling psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters too, a man renowned for his work on mental strength and positive attitude. That attitude was evident after the game, when players such as Joe Gomez spoke of the physical challenges they faced.

Gomez admitted to being “very tired” after such a long night in draining heat, yet he explained there is a philosophy at Anfield. “It is relentless but it is part and parcel to be at the top.

“You have to play more games than anyone else if you want to win things We want to do it and we want to work together, do our best for the team, recover, go again.

“It’s tough. We fly home and then gone again (to Southampton). That is part and parcel of it. We cannot complain and we are lucky to do it.”

As Mane said, tiredness is all in the brain, but winning is in the heart.