Tomorrow, Liverpool’s players return to Melwood to begin training as a team again ahead of a mid-July return to action behind closed doors. While there may be concerns around the return of football, for most involved the overriding desire is to be able to start work again.
Or at least that’s what it sounds like to hear Jürgen Klopp discuss the situation, with the Liverpool manager having been at Melwood since late last week to prepare for the return of his players, and who welcomed them back in person today as they arrived for testing.
“I was over the moon,” Klopp said of how he felt when he learned team training was set to resume this week. “I couldn’t wait for a while now, so I am really happy that we are able to do this again—going back to Melwood, having small group training and stuff like this.
“It will be intense, for the coaches especially because a lot of players in small groups means a lot of sessions, but we’ve had enough time to rest. We had to do the COVID testing and we have to still wait for the results. If they are all negative we can start with the full group.”
So far, 784 Premier League players and staff have had their results confirmed, with six positives at three clubs. Those players will now self-isolate for a week before being tested again—and the hope is that even when training begins that will be a suitable solution.
With players operating in small groups and asked to adhere to social distancing, it should be—at least to start off. What happens when contact training and then live games actually begin is the question nobody seems to have a particularly good answer to right now.
At least for Liverpool and Klopp, though, this first step and getting all of the players back together again at Melwood to begin small group, socially distanced training isn’t rushing things or being unnecessarily reckless when it comes to anybody’s health and safety.
“I always said we don’t want to rush anything, but I don’t think it is rushed,” he added. “For the first step, for this kind of social distancing training, we have five players. Everybody knows how big a pitch is and there will probably be four players and a goalkeeper.
“You can imagine how much space they have to do what they have to do. From a physical point of view, the boys are in a good shape, I think. We have to start getting used to the pitch, football boots, and balls again. That’s our job, so we need to get used to that again.
“The boys are fit really early from an endurance point of view, but the moment you start playing football, you can see how different it is. That’s what we have to get through and we will get through it. We’ll make it step by step and I am really looking forward to it.”