Jurgen Klopp has addressed the concerns of Liverpool supporters over the condition of his players as he praised an “absolutely perfect” return to Melwood.
Tea Reds were in group training at the facility on Wednesday for the first time in more than two months to begin the initial stage of the return to training protocol, with players working in limited groups ahead of planned contact training in the coming weeks.
Klopp had been unable to work face-to-face with his squad after the Premier League was suspended on March 13 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
And the Reds boss was delighted with the reunion with the players that have helped the Reds move a record 25 points clear at the summit and within two wins of a first title since 1990.
“Perfect, absolutely perfect,” said Klopp. “The sessions were perfectly organized, it is all about football.
“It’s little things, getting used to the pitch, boots and ball, turns, passes, half-passes, softer passes, running, little accelerations and stuff like that. Little finishes, not proper shooting but little finishes, all this stuff. looked really, really good, I have to say. If anybody was worried from our fans, you don’t have to – the boys are in good shape. They are all fit and hopefully it stays like this, of course. “
Alisson Becker, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri had all been absent the last time Liverpool played back in March against Atletico Madrid in their Champions League round of 16 second leg defeat at Anfield.
The Premier League are still working towards resuming the campaign on June 12, although there are strong suggestions the date could be pushed back by up to a fortnight to give clubs more time to prepare their players. And while Klopp is treating the next few weeks in a similar way to pre-season, there will be one key aspect missing from a regular warm-up program.
“It’s a pre-season for us,” he said, speaking to liverpoolfc.com. “We don’t know how long and we will not have test games or friendlies, not really; maybe we can organize it between us when we are allowed to, but it will not be the same like in other pre-seasons.
“But, no, it’s a pre-season. Usually our players have two or three weeks’ holiday a year, now they had nine weeks off. It was not a holiday but it was nine weeks off.
“That’s good from one point of view – finally they got a real rest. On the other side, of course, you cannot rest when you are worried about the situation in the world, not in the same way like you do on a proper holiday .
“But it’s the situation and we have to make sure, and we will – we already did the testing, so we know how fit the players are or how fit the individual player is – and then work from that.
“That is like it is in a pre-season. Then we have to make sure we are as fit as possible for the first match; even for the second; and probably, 100%, for the third. Or whatever, it depends how long we will get. “