Liverpool and the rest of the Premier League are still waiting to see when, or if, Project Restart gets approved. While the Reds can’t train together until a decision is made, one one of their own is getting first hand experience in training during the coronavirus pandemic.
Liverpool loanee, Nathaniel Phillips, has joined his Stuttgart teammates as 2. Bundesliga gets ready to kick off next week. He took the time to talk to Theo Squires of the Liverpool Echo about what it is like to train with the new protocols in place.
“It’s nice to be back. We’re still in small groups so never more than five in a group at one time,” said Phillips.
“Training’s adapted with the small groups so there are certain things that we can’t work on but everyone is in the same boat. It won’t be a full pre-season but we’ll get time before the games start training as a full group and a full team.”
Besides the physical aspects of trying to regain fitness ahead of games, Nat Phillips, who will be fighting for a starting spot, also talked about how important it is for the team to regain the mental sharpness as well.
“We’ve done well as a team and the staff have done really well in keeping the sessions engaging and keeping the motivation high so we can be in the best position possible when we do return.”
When Phillips and Stuttgart kick off again, they’ll immediately be right back in the midst of a promotion race. While they’ll be pushing hard for an automatic promotion berth, they won’t have fans in the stands to cheer for or against them.
“There is the danger of it having that pre-season friendly feel when there is no fans but it’s going to be the same for all teams playing home and away,” said Phillips.
“In some games where you might feel the pressure from the fans if you’re not performing well, you benefit from not having the pressure but at the same time you don’t benefit from the boost that fans might give you in some situations.”
As Nat says, not having fans in the stands could be a blessing or a curse. Ultimately, no one really knows at this point.
“It will be interesting to see if it has an effect. Realistically it shouldn’t too much as we’re all professionals and should do our job to the best of our abilities no matter what the circumstances.”