The three-man competition to be Liverpool’s starting goalkeeper will ensure the best outcome on behalf of the club, promises Danny Ward.
Having spent last term helping Huddersfield Town secure promotion to the Premier League during a loan spell, the Wales international returned to Melwood for pre-season training earlier this month.
Jürgen Klopp intends to give Ward the same opportunities afforded to Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet as the trio jostle for a regular position between the posts – a role the 24-year-old would obviously be delighted to assume.
But the stopper insists the interests of the club come before their individual aspirations, telling Liverpoolfc.com: “That’s the whole point.
“The more ‘keepers we have got with quality, the better. The manager has talked about us having competition between us, which can only be healthy for the squad in general.
“That’s our aim every day – to push each other as far as we can because we want Liverpool to have the best goalkeeper that we can potentially give them.
“The manager knows the three boys are more than capable. It’s a fight for the No.1 [spot], but we’ll be helping each other along the way.”
Ward was naturally buoyed by the manager’s recent words regarding the goalkeeping options at his disposal, while both Karius and Mignolet have welcomed the added competition since pre-season preparations began.
“It shows he’s got faith in what I can bring to the squad,” says the No.52, who made his senior debut for the club under Klopp in April 2016.
He comes back this summer as an improved player, too, with the experience gathered during Huddersfield’s run to the Championship play-off final priceless at this stage of his career.
“It was a crazy 12 months really, an unbelievable experience,” Ward reflects.
“I went there to go and play some games, and obviously we had the fairytale ending, which was a fantastic experience that I’ll definitely never forget.
“It gives you that reassurance, playing on the big stages as well. The schedule of fixtures is a lot more hectic than it would be in the Premier League. Experience-wise, it was unbelievable.
“Hopefully that’ll hold me in good stead for what’s to come in the future.”
In the short-term, that involves a trip across the world.
Ward flew out to Hong Kong on Sunday as part of the Liverpool squad that will participate in the Premier League Asia Trophy alongside Crystal Palace, Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion.
Training sessions will be interwoven with two fixtures in the tournament as the intensity of pre-season heightens, and he is in no doubt of the benefits.
“The main thing is obviously to get ready for the season coming up and help the lads get ready as well, make sure you’re in peak condition and go from there,” adds Ward.
“As a player, you just want the games to start, getting your eye back in and get a feel for being on the pitch again.
“Coming away, tough climates can only help you fitness-wise. And it gives the fans a chance to see all the boys as well in an area they wouldn’t normally get chance to. The tours are brilliant things for us.”
Watch every kick of pre-season on LFCTV and LFCTV GO – click here for more details.