London (AFP) – Jurgen Klopp admitted on Sunday that it has been a “massive lift” to see his Liverpool squad back training together as they prepare for the return of the Premier League.
The English top flight is set to restart on June 17 and teams have been able to resume group training after weeks of isolation due to the coronavirus lockdown.
It has been an especially frustrating time for Liverpool boss Klopp, whose side were two wins away from clinching the Premier League title when the season was halted because of the pandemic in March.
“We never had nine weeks without football training in our lives since we played football, pretty much. That’s all different but interesting as well,” Klopp told Liverpool’s website.
“We enjoy the situation, that’s really all good. And it makes all the difference for us, to be honest, to come together and have this hour or two here together.
“You get this contact, feedback as well on the pitch directly, not via a computer or a screen. It’s a massive, massive lift.”
Liverpool have a 25-point lead over second placed Manchester City, putting their first English title for 30 years within touching distance if the season does restart.
The Reds’ first game back is scheduled to be the Merseyside derby against Everton and Klopp is building his players’ fitness towards that date.
“We don’t have to be match-fit now. We try it with increasing intensity, day by day, but we have to be fit on the 19th or 20th, whichever day they will give us against Everton, I think,” Klopp said.
“That’s the moment when we want to be at 100 percent. It’s round about three weeks until then, that’s good. We want to use that and we will.
“It’s our pre-season; how I said, we don’t expect a long break in between the seasons, so this is a very important period for us.”
Liverpool are now awaiting confirmation on schedules and venues after senior police chiefs raised concerns about the club playing any possible title-clinching match at Anfield or another team’s stadium.
All matches will be played behind closed doors and it was suggested Liverpool may have to move to a neutral venue in a bid to stop fans gathering outside.
“That’s what we were all waiting for,” Klopp said. “But now it’s always like this. You were waiting for that, somebody tells us we could start, that’s good.
“Now we know, from a training point of view, what we have to do when and when we have to be at 100 per cent in the best way, how we can train in different intensities. That was very important.
“Now, of course, it’s more and more interesting when we play where, the times are really important because we will see how we can organise the travel stuff.”
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