Jurgen Klopp is relishing the prospect of getting his Liverpool squad back on the training ground but knows they must be ready to go all-out when the Premier League finally resumes.
The English top-flight was halted in March amid the coronavirus pandemic, leaving the Reds two wins shy of their first league title in 30 years. Klopp’s charges will return to training on Wednesday, albeit initially in small groups.
“I was over the moon, I would say,” Klopp told the club’s official website when asked how he felt about his players getting back to work at Melwood. “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 so we will be fine. Can’t wait.”
On Tuesday it was announced that coronavirus tests carried out on 748 Premier League players and staff returned six positive results across three clubs, with no names disclosed. It is hoped fixtures could recommence in June, with Klopp calling on his side to be ready to hit the ground running.
“When we start, it goes really again for everything. The competition will make the intensity,” he said. “So, it’s not about, ‘Oh, Liverpool have to win two games’. By the way, we have to win two games when we start – it’s not ‘only two’, it’s two. It’s not less or more.
“We have to win them, it’s not that we want to win the last two or whatever and come through somehow. We want to play the best possible football, better than other teams fighting for the Champions League, fighting to stay in the league.
“We have to do it, unfortunately, without the best boost in the world and the best kick in your ass in the right moment in the world, from the Anfield crowd.
“That’s how it is. I never understood in life why you always want things you don’t have, you cannot have. In this moment we cannot have that, so let’s take the rest and make the absolute best of it.”
Some figures in English football have criticised the return to training as being too early – with Watford captain Troy Deeney saying he will not take part due to health concerns for his infant son – but Klopp feels that now is the right time.
He said: “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.
“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. Everybody agrees about that, it’s only about when. It’s now a good moment to do it. Then other things, for sure, will follow.”