Iago Aspas admits he has found preseason training at Liverpool tougher than anything he’s experienced before — but acknowledges that putting hard work in on the practice fields will be key to earning himself a starting berth this season.
The Spanish striker is one of four new faces at Anfield this summer, having joined the Reds from Celta Vigo last month — and has struck three goals in preseason to date, including two on the Reds’ summer tour.
Liverpool’s players have undergone double sessions most days since beginning preparations for the new campaign, and Aspas concedes it’s been hard work.
But he knows both he and his teammates will reap the benefits come the big kick-off against Stoke City at Anfield next month.
“At the beginning it has been a little tougher than the sessions in Spain, but we know there is a little more running involved in this league,” he told Liverpoolfc.com. ”However, we do a lot of work with the ball and I think in that respect the sessions are very similar to back in Spain.
“I’m working hard every day to try and earn my place on the team sheet for the first game.
“From that moment on it’s all about doing as well as I can and gaining in confidence to continue to keep my place in the side.”
Aspas isn’t the only new Spaniard at Liverpool — he’s been joined by Luis Alberto, who arrived from Sevilla.
The duo have been welcomed to Melwood by fellow Iberian Jose Enrique, while the ability of manager Brendan Rodgers will further help their settling-in process.
“Luis has been a real source of support for me,” explained Aspas. “Because we’re the two new boys, we hang out and go everywhere together.
“Of course it helps a lot that the manager can speak Spanish — he gets by pretty well.
“Jose Enrique is the person who’s helping out the most at the moment. He’s Spanish like us, so he’s helping us out with everything — finding a house, a car, translating training ground explanations … whatever it may be, he’s there to help us.”
Upon arriving at Anfield, Aspas was allocated the iconic No. 9 jersey, previously worn by the likes of Ian Rush, Ian St John and Robbie Fowler.
Nonetheless, the 25-year-old insists the responsibility that will be placed upon his shoulders will not come from the number on his back, but the Liver Bird upon his chest.
“In Spain they don’t attach so much importance to your shirt number as you do here in England, but I do know that simply by coming here I have the responsibility to return with interest the money the club has paid out for me,” said Aspas.
“I can’t wait for the first game at Anfield against Stoke City to be able to describe at first hand all the good feelings I have about this league.”
Photo via Liverpool FC.com