We won't endanger players, vows Klopp

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 22 May 2020

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

Klopp's side were just two victories away from ending a 30-year wait to win the title when the English top flight was shut down more than two months ago due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Six positive cases of Covid-19 were detected, including Watford defender Adrian Mariappa, in the first round of 748 tests of Premier League players and staff 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," Klopp assured.

"Yes, we love football, yes, it's our job, but it's not more important than our lives or the lives of other people.

"In this case if you don't feel safe, you don't have to be here."

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 need time to get match fit."

However, some players remain unconvinced they are not being put at undue risk, with Newcastle defender Danny Rose claiming players are being treated like "guinea pigs or lab rats."

Meanwhile, Tottenham have launched another investigation into one of their players after defender Serge Aurier appeared to flout social-distancing rules for a third time as he posted an Instagram photo of his new haircut.

Hairdressers are closed in Britain in line with the government's rules on social distancing.

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