The players underwent their first training session in Japan earlier today at the home of local side Yokohama F. Marinos FC, ahead of Thursday’s FIFA Club World Cup semi-final against Monterrey.
The facility was located close enough to allow the players to change into their kit at the hotel – where hundreds of Japanese supporters were camped outside hoping to catch a glimpse of their heroes – before making the short journey to the ground.
The group, which included youngsters Lucas Piazon and George Saville, were put through their paces by Rafael Benitez and his coaching staff for more than an hour on a chilly, albeit sunny, afternoon in the far-east.
Open to the media, it was a relatively light session following the gruelling combination of Saturday’s game at Sunderland and a 12-hour flight, beginning with a series of running drills and stretching exercises, before the players were split into two groups for a keep-ball session designed to improve touch and technique.
It was then on to a possession-based game in which no player was allowed to take more than two touches, with the team clad in pink bibs – including the likes of Frank Lampard, Oscar and Gary Cahill – flourishing.
The session was rounded off with 10 players playing out a routine whereby two separate teams of four attempted to breach the opposing side with a killer pass aimed at one player who was deployed further forward.
Three players missing from today’s session were John Terry, Daniel Sturridge and Oriol Romeu.
Benitez had already stated that Terry would remain in the UK as he continues his rehabilitation from a knee injury, and while both Sturridge and Romeu didn’t travel with the initial party, there remains a possibility that they could arrive later this week.
Tomorrow’s training session will, in all likelihood, see the intensity levels increase.