Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has backed the Premier League’s plans for players to return to training this week.
Players are returning to training this week after the clubs voted unanimously to do so at a shareholders’ meeting on Monday, the first significant step in the return-to-play protocols.
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Officials are optimistic about the Premier League restarting in June – three months after football was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic – but there is an acknowledgment that plans may not be sufficiently advanced to ensure a return to action on June 12, as initially hoped.
The Premier League confirmed on Tuesday it had received six positive tests for coronavirus from three clubs after the first phase of mass testing. A total of 748 tests were carried out over the weekend.
Some Premier League clubs resumed training in small groups on Tuesday and Klopp believes the timing is right.
“Nobody wants to bring anybody into danger, but I think with all the things we know about, sticking to the social distancing rule – especially in the first part – with testing as often as possible and stuff like this, the players will be safe,” he told Liverpool’s official website.
“Germany showed it already – a couple of players had a positive test during the long period, they trained for five weeks and now they play already, stuff like this and they had altogether 10 or 12 positive tests.
“I hope that we are now in England on the right side of the thing as well.
“It’s all about when – but you need to re-open step by step different parts of life again. And everybody agrees about that, it’s only about when.
“It’s now a good moment to do it [in the Premier League]. Then other things, for sure, will follow.”
Klopp believes the Bundesliga – which resumed last weekend – has already shown that games will retain their usual intensity, even without fans in the stadiums.
“The perfect package of football is a full, packed Anfield stadium, two really good teams, big fight, super goals and at the end Liverpool win,” Klopp said.
“So, a lot of these things are possible but Anfield will not be packed for a while. So that’s what we have to accept, that’s the only thing.
“It looks like it will be possible – and it is in Germany already possible – to play behind closed doors.
“And the football games were really good; super goals, real fight, tight games, clear games, clear results, a proper fight. Imagine, the first night is a little bit like, ‘Have a look here and there, how will it work, how does it feel?’
“But in Germany so many teams play for pretty much everything – they want to stay in the league – and that’s exactly the same what will happen in England.
“When we start, it goes really again for everything. The competition will make the intensity.”
Klopp admits he was delighted when he was told he would be able to resume working with his players.
“I was over the moon, I would say,” Klopp said. “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.
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