We will not endanger players, says Klopp

The German reiterates his priority is the health of those involved but believes it is now safe for players to return to Phase One of training

LONDON Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he will not put his players at risk or force them back into action against their will as the Premier League leaders returned to training in small groups on Wednesday.

Klopp’s side was just two victories away from ending a 30-year wait to win the title when the English top-flight was shutdown 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 (at press time) ahead of a return to socially distanced training this week.

Klopp reiterated his priority is the health of those involved but believes it is now safe for players to return to Phase One of training.

“We would never put anybody in danger to do what we want to do. Yes, we love football, yes, it’s our job, but it’s not more important than our lives or the lives of other people,” Klopp told Sky Sports.

“In this case if you don’t feel safe, you don’t have to be here.”

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

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

And Klopp would welcome a start date to work towards as soon as possible.

“None of us know when we will start. The earlier they can tell us, the better it is, of course,” he added.

“We can’t start today and then start playing tomorrow. That doesn’t work. We need time to get match fit and that’s what we are doing at the moment.”

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 and is confident his players can make a quick return to action.— AFP