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Klopp: 'I always said we don't want to rush anything, but I don't think it is rushed'

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has welcomed the imminent return of Premier League football.

Jurgen Klopp arriving at Liverpool training today.
Jurgen Klopp arriving at Liverpool training today.
Image: Peter Byrne

LIVERPOOL MANAGER JURGEN Klopp is optimistic about the chances of completing the Premier League season as the champions-elect returned to training in small groups today.

Klopp’s side were just two victories away from ending a 30-year wait to win the title when the English top-flight was shut down more than two months ago due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Six positive cases of Covid-19 were detected in the Premier League’s first round of 748 tests of players and staff ahead of a return to socially-distanced training this week.

At the start of the outbreak, Klopp accepted football should be suspended if it would help save even one life. But the German believes it is now safe for players to return to phase one of training.

“I always said we don’t want to rush anything, but I don’t think it is rushed. It is for the first step, for this kind of social distancing training,” Klopp told the Liverpool website.

“It was a long time, it is still ongoing, but the development is going with everything in the right direction and that helps. That football is closer to coming back I think is really a good sign for people as well.”

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder is also heartened that just 0.8% of the tests carried out by the Premier League resulted in positive cases.

“A lot of people have been tested and the signs are encouraging,” said Wilder, whose side are in contention to qualify for European competition for the first time in their history.

Germany’s Bundesliga resumed its season behind closed doors last weekend, becoming the first major league to return to action.

The Premier League’s target of restarting on 12 June has been called into question by players’ concern for their welfare, both from the threat of the virus and injuries with little preparation time after such a long lay-off.

However, Wilder does not believe fitness should be an issue as players have been able to maintain their conditioning during the lockdown.

“They weren’t off to Dubai or Vegas eating and drinking whatever they want,” Wilder added. “They’ve got a professionalism about them and my players are in absolutely brilliant condition.”

Watford captain Troy Deeney has said he will not return to training this week over fears he could pass the virus onto his five-month-old son, with three of the six positive cases in the Premier League registered at the club.

Burnley had previously announced that assistant manager Ian Woan, who is asymptomatic, was another case with two more from one other club yet to be revealed. 

© – AFP, 2020

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