No restrictions, no punishment...


No restrictions, no punishment, nothing - Klopp giving players free rein

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Jurgen Klopp has left it up to his Liverpool players whether or not they want to return to training.Ā 

Melwood opened its gates to the Premier League champions elect to work in small groups on Wednesday, and so far no absentees have been reported.

The return to training hasn't been universally welcomed by Premier League players.

At Watford - where one player and two members of staff have tested positive for coronavirus - captain Troy Deeney has led those staying away.

"I have spoken to players who have chosen at the moment that that is their stance," Watford boss Nigel Pearson told Sky Sports, "And we abide with what we have already said to them and we respect their decision."

It's a sentiment echoed by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

"It is the players' choice and that is clear," Klopp told Sky Sports.

"I said before the session, 'You are here on free will. Usually you sign a contract and you have to be in when I tell you, but in this case if you don't feel safe, you don't have to be here'.

"There are no restrictions, no punishment, nothing. It's their own decision and we respect that 100 per cent.

"The boys are all here, the first group of 10 players, then the next session will start, and another 10 players will be in, and then another five in the afternoon.

"We will see if they show up but so far, we know they will because they would have called us.

"The boys are fine. 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."

Bundesliga offers hope

Play is unlikely to resume in the Premier League until the second half of June at the earliest.

But Klopp says there is hope to be found in the league where he made his name.

"We cannot play football with social distancing, obviously, but the first phase is absolutely possible and then later on we have to go to the normal things we do in a football game," he told Geoff Shreeves.

"You saw in Germany last weekend, there were proper football games. There was intensity in the games. So far, we have only discussed when we will start and all that stuff, but when we do start, there are real targets to achieve and things to fulfil. For us and other teams as well.

"That will give the games the intensity, but we have to be as creative as possible at the moment because pre-season usually starts differently.

"First and foremost, when you have a pre-season you know when the seasons starts.

"We don't know that at the moment, so that is of course different, and also we are not allowed to do a couple of things that we would usually do in the first few sessions.

"We just needed to start because we prepare a body for physical work. 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."

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Coronavirus Covid-19 Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Nigel Pearson Premier League Project Restart Troy Deeney Watford

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