Jürgen Klopp has revealed he instructed Liverpool’s players to wear face masks and gloves whenever they ventured out during lockdown, but he believes matches will be “100% safe” when the Premier League restarts.
Liverpool are back in contact training before their return against Everton on 20 June as they prepare to seal the club’s first title triumph for 30 years. In an interview with BBC Radio 5 live, the Liverpool manager praised the discipline of his players since the football season was suspended on 13 March.
Klopp also outlined the protocols his players have followed beyond the training ground, and expressed surprise and alarm that England has not introduced more stringent rules regarding face masks. Klopp added he is confident the safeguards around training and matches should protect players as well as possible from Covid-19.
Klopp said: “It feels 100% like a secure environment, but we can never be sure there will be nil infections because we still have a normal life. The boys are massively disciplined. It has been nearly 11 weeks already which for people in this age is a true challenge. It is for all of us a challenge, but for them especially.
“We go to petrol stations, we need fuel, we need food; stuff like this,” Klopp added. “We wear face masks and I do not understand why everyone in England, especially in close areas, is not wearing a face mask and gloves. It helped in Germany a lot. I am not an expert but it helped there a lot.
“We told the boys wherever they went, I wanted them to wear face masks and gloves so just from that point of view, nothing can happen. Humans are [at] the most risk from humans. That is how it always was. We are all our biggest enemies sometimes, so we have stay disciplined and we will.”
Klopp went on to discuss the club’s preparations for the season. “The environment itself, the training ground [and] around the matches, that will be 100% safe. Everybody is doing everything you can imagine so nothing happens there. These young boys physically are in incredible shape. I am not worried about them; if I was, I would not be here.”
Premier League clubs will be allowed to arrange friendlies
Premier League clubs have reportedly been given the go-ahead to arrange friendlies ahead of the season’s return later this month as the top flight’s Project Restart continues to progress.
Players stepped up from socially-distanced group training to contact sessions last week, with Liverpool among the clubs to play in-house 11-a-side matches. Clubs are now expected to be allowed to hold friendlies at training grounds or stadiums to improve match fitness before the restart on 17 June.
The league sent guidelines to all 20 teams on Tuesday outlining restrictions, including the need for a full risk assessment if staff members are required to officiate in the absence of referees. Teams will also not be allowed to travel for more than 90 minutes to play a friendly match, with social distancing and hygiene measures implemented. PA