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Updated: 7 hours 54 min ago

Robertson: Van Dijk and Klopp best in the world

11 hours 16 min ago
Robertson on Klopp: "That's why we're so successful just now, it's down to him"

Last Updated: 01/06/20 8:47am

8:51 Patrick Davison quizzes Liverpool’s Andy Robertson about things people from the world of football have said about him. Patrick Davison quizzes Liverpool’s Andy Robertson about things people from the world of football have said about him.

Liverpool's Andrew Robertson insists Virgil van Dijk is the best defender and Jurgen Klopp the best manager in the world at present.

Robertson has been dominant for Liverpool alongside Dutchman Van Dijk in a Reds defence that sits top of the Premier League by 25 points ahead of football's return in mid-June.

Speaking on The Football Show, Robertson insists the £75m price has been well worth it, and that the pair have a good bond on and off the pitch.

"Virg is the best defender in the world, and I love him being on the left-hand side with me," said Robertson. "We have a good partnership on and off the pitch, and we help each other out. On the pitch especially.

Van Dijk has been instrumental in leading Liverpool 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League Van Dijk has been instrumental in leading Liverpool 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League Van Dijk has been instrumental in leading Liverpool 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League

"The big guy is absolutely class in everything he does. He just carries himself so well on and off the pitch, and is somebody who a lot of people look up to, and I'm one of them. He's a fantastic leader, a fantastic guy. I love playing with him, having him in the back line, and since he signed, he's brought us forward.

"I loved him at Celtic as well, and I was delighted when we signed him, and it showed that the money spent was worth it."

'Klopp a father figure'

Robertson also said Klopp is the father figure at Anfield, and that the quality of team bond is the reason why they have been so successful in recent years.

Could he be more confident? Maybe yes but when he's with us, he has that confidence, that belief. What he's not is the type of character who wakes up, looks in the mirror and says, 'Look at me, I'm Andrew Robertson...' He doesn't live like that. There's no arrogance to him, none at all. He's just a well-educated, well brought-up boy and he comes from Scotland, all of which is good enough for me.

Klopp on Robertson

Reacting to a quote from Klopp on Robertson from 2019, the Scot was taken aback by the high praise.

4:57 Watch Liverpool's 2019-20 Premier League goals from August through to October, including the opening day rout of Norwich and a key win at home to Tottenham Watch Liverpool's 2019-20 Premier League goals from August through to October, including the opening day rout of Norwich and a key win at home to Tottenham

"I don't think I've heard this quote, but it's one that gets me. For a manager, who I think is the best in the world at the minute, for him to say that about me is really nice. That's what I try to be.

"He's probably right, could I have more confidence in myself and my ability? Yes, I could. It's something I'm maybe trying to work on.

4:58 Liverpool's PL wins in November and December included victory in the Merseyside Derby and the 3-1 triumph over Manchester City at Anfield Liverpool's PL wins in November and December included victory in the Merseyside Derby and the 3-1 triumph over Manchester City at Anfield

"Throughout my career, I've always doubted myself and it has kind of worked for me, brought out the best in me, putting performances in I can be proud of.

"He's a fantastic man, a fantastic manager, and for him to think I don't have negatives is great. He likes the Scottish people, I know he does, he gets on really well with Kenny Dalglish.

4:59 Check out the goals from Liverpool's 2019-20 PL games from December to March, which included victory over rivals Manchester United and the most recent win over Bournemouth at Anfield Check out the goals from Liverpool's 2019-20 PL games from December to March, which included victory over rivals Manchester United and the most recent win over Bournemouth at Anfield

"He's the father figure of this training ground, this group of boys, and he's here for us in every way, whether on the pitch or off the pitch. That's why we're so successful just now, it's down to him, and long may that continue.

"I know it's a work thing, and he's my manager, but we're more than that, we're a family here and that's why we've been so successful."

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'Up to 10' PL clubs want relegation scrapped

14 hours 16 min ago
Kaveh Solhekol

Sky Sports News reporter

Top-flight clubs have resumed close-contact training and are edging closer to the proposed June 17 restart date for matches

Last Updated: 01/06/20 9:06am

1:21 Premier League football is poised to return on June 17 after a three-month hiatus Premier League football is poised to return on June 17 after a three-month hiatus

The majority of teams in the bottom half of the Premier League want relegation scrapped if the 2019/20 season has to be curtailed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Premier League season is due to restart on 17 June behind closed doors, with all 20 clubs set to vote on what to do if the season has to be curtailed at a shareholders' meeting on Thursday.

Top-flight officials are recommending a simple points-per-game formula to work out league placings if the season has to be cancelled, for example, if there is a second wave of coronavirus infections or a new lockdown enforced by the UK government.

If that occurs, a team's points would be divided by the number of games they have played, and league placings would be based on the average number of points a team has earned per match.

One top-flight club owner says he would vote for scrapping relegation even though the FA ruled it out last month.

"We would vote for no relegation if the season is curtailed," he said.

"There are up to 10 clubs who think the same thing."

The bottom half of the Premier League, with 92 games left to play The bottom half of the Premier League, with 92 games left to play The bottom half of the Premier League, with 92 games left to play

The formula would be adopted and used in the future if a season has to be finished early. The recommendation needs the support of 14 clubs in a vote in order to be added to the Premier League's rules.

If the simple points-per-game method was used now, Liverpool would be crowned champions and Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Norwich City would be relegated.

EFL chairman Rick Parry has threatened legal action if there is no relegation and promotion between the Premier League and the Championship, claiming that there would be "outrage".

2:14 Mark Bosnich says he would prefer relegation to be scrapped in case of the Premier League season being curtailed amid opposition to demotion from relegation-threatened clubs Mark Bosnich says he would prefer relegation to be scrapped in case of the Premier League season being curtailed amid opposition to demotion from relegation-threatened clubs

Sky Sports will show 64 live Premier League games. In addition to the 39 matches scheduled to be broadcast on Sky before the coronavirus interruption, 25 more matches will be available on both Sky Sports Premier League and Sky's free-to-air Pick channel.

Supplement: How could fans return to football?

With reports saying the FA Cup final could be played in front of 20,000 fans, the Sunday Supplement panel discuss how supporters could return to the stands.

In the revised football calendar, the showpiece final is now due to be held at Wembley on August 1 and a report in the Mirror on Sunday says 10,000 fans from each club could be present.

Elsewhere, there have also been reports leagues in Italy and Spain could restart in front of socially distanced supporters, with stadiums around 20 per cent full.

Read more here, or listen to the latest Sunday Supplement podcast

Download the Sunday Supplement podcast on: Spotify | Apple | Castbox | Spreaker

Government allows sport to return from June 1

The UK government has given the green light for live competitive sport to return behind closed doors "in safe and carefully controlled environments" from June 1.

Deputy Chief Medical Officers of England, Public Health England and medical experts across Olympic, Paralympic and professional sports governing bodies have contributed to the latest guidelines which have been revealed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

It follows an update last Monday from the UK government which gave permission for "close-contact and competitive" training to resume for all sports.

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Klopp: 'Massive lift' to have squad back together

Sun, 05/31/2020 - 18:17
Trent Alexander-Arnold: "It has been positive to be back with the boys, that was the main thing we've all been missing."

Last Updated: 01/06/20 8:34am

Jurgen Klopp says having the whole group back together is a "massive, massive lift" as Liverpool prepare to try and wrap up a first league title in 30 years.

The Premier League has been on hold since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic but is set to resume on June 17.

Assuming the restart goes ahead, it appears to be a matter of when rather than if Liverpool win the Premier League for the first time, given Klopp's men boast a 25-point lead over nearest rivals Manchester City.

The Reds have stepped up their preparations by resuming contact training in recent days, with Klopp looking to hit the ground running in the first game back, which will be a Merseyside derby against Everton.

Premier League return - key points

Provisional restart date of June 17 agreed, subject to safety requirements

Aston Villa vs Sheff Utd, Man City vs Arsenal scheduled for June 17

All games behind closed doors

New staggered KO times

Full match round to start June 19

All 92 games broadcast live in UK - 64 live on Sky Sports

Venues still to be confirmed

He told the club website: "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.

"That's the moment when we want to be at 100 per cent.

"It's around about three weeks until then, that's good. We want to use that and we will.

Liverpool look almost certain to clinch a first league title in 30 years Liverpool look almost certain to clinch a first league title in 30 years Liverpool look almost certain to clinch a first league title in 30 years

"It's our pre-season. We don't expect a long break in between the seasons, so this is a very important period for us.

"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. 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."

Defender Trent Alexander-Arnold confirmed that all was well in the camp, following the return of contact training.

"So far, so good," said the England right-back.

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold is delighted to be back with his team-mates Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold is delighted to be back with his team-mates Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold is delighted to be back with his team-mates

"It has been positive to be back with the boys, that was the main thing we've all been missing.

"It's just really positive, everyone is in a good mood and good spirits. We're just happy to be back.

"Obviously it's safety first, so we've had to take precautions and take it seriously but, when we get into training, it's good to be back to normal."

64 live PL games on Sky, 25 free-to-air

Sky Sports will show 64 live Premier League games. In addition to the 39 matches scheduled to be broadcast on Sky before the coronavirus interruption, 25 more matches will be available on both Sky Sports Premier League and Sky's free-to-air Pick channel.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

No positive tests in fourth round of PL testing

Sat, 05/30/2020 - 19:19
1,130 players and club staff tested in fourth round of testing; fifth round of testing due to take place on Monday and Tuesday next week

Last Updated: 31/05/20 8:29am

There have been no positive tests for coronavirus after the fourth round of Premier League testing.

The latest batch of tests, which were conducted on Thursday and Friday this week, are the first to take place since clubs unanimously agreed a return to contact training.

A total of 12 people tested positive from over 2,700 tests conducted in the first three rounds.

For the fourth round of testing, the number of tests available to each club increased from 50 to 60. 1,130 people were tested in total.

COVID-19 impact on football

March 5 - Pre-match handshakes banned in the Premier League.
March 11 - Man City vs Arsenal is first Premier League game suspended; Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid the last top level game played in England.
March 12 - Man Utd, Wolves play away Europa League ties behind closed doors, Rangers host Bayer Leverkusen in front of fans.
March 13 - Football suspended following an emergency meeting between PL, FA, EFL and WSL
April 15 - SPFL clubs approve plan to end the Scottish Championship, League One and league Two seasons.
May 15 - League Two clubs vote to end the season with immediate effect.
May 17 - Premier League players and staff tested for COVID-19.
May 18 - Scottish Premiership curtailed, with points per game determining league positions and Celtic named champions.
May 19 - Premier League clubs return to socially distanced group training.
May 25 - Women's Super League cancelled, with title and relegation to be determined.
May 27 - Premier League clubs vote to resume contact training.

A Premier League statement read: "The Premier League can today confirm that on Thursday 28 May and Friday 29 May, 1130 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, zero have tested positive.

"The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency. No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League and results will be made public after each round of testing."

The Premier League has set a provisional date of return for June 17, provided all safety tests are cleared, with Sky Sports showing 64 live games, including 25 which will be broadcast free to air.

In addition to the 39 matches scheduled to be broadcast on Sky before the coronavirus interruption, 25 more matches will be available on both Sky Sports Premier League and Sky's free-to-air Pick channel.

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News on Friday, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said test results from the first three rounds had been "reassuring" and the number of positive cases were at an anticipated level.

Testing will continue on a twice-weekly basis as the resumption of the season moves closer.

2:04 Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden confirms competitive sport can resume behind closed doors from June 1 in England Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden confirms competitive sport can resume behind closed doors from June 1 in England It's official - Football is back!

The government has issued health and safety guidelines which will pave the way for elite sport to return behind closed doors in England from Monday.

The rules form stage three of the process of bringing sport back from the coronavirus lockdown. Stage two, which allowed for close-contact training for elite athletes, was published last Monday.

Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: "The wait is over. I can now make it official: football is coming back.

"Live British sport will shortly be back on in safe and carefully controlled environments.

"This guidance provides the safe framework for sports to resume competitions behind closed doors. It is now up to individual sports to confirm they can meet these protocols and decide when it's right for them to restart.

1:49 Dowden says clubs will have to accept playing in neutral venues, if required to do so Dowden says clubs will have to accept playing in neutral venues, if required to do so

"This is a significant moment for British sport. By working with clinicians every step of the way, we are creating the safest possible environments for everyone involved."

1:06 Gary Neville believes great strides have been made ahead of football's return in England and the Premier League returning is a big moment Gary Neville believes great strides have been made ahead of football's return in England and the Premier League returning is a big moment

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: "The Premier League welcomes the Government's announcement today.

"We have provisionally planned to restart the Premier League on 17 June, but there is still much work to be done to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

"This includes consulting with our clubs, players and managers - along with all our other stakeholders - as the health and welfare of our participants and supporters is our priority.

"If all goes well, we will be thrilled to resume the 2019-20 season in just over two weeks' time."

'Reserved optimism over test results'

Analysis from Sky Sports News reporter Geraint Hughes...

On the day when the Government gave the green light for elite domestic competition sport to resume on June 1, the Premier League also revealed that the fourth round of COVID-19 testing returned not one positive test.

Even in these early green shoots of recovery towards the resumption of football on June 17, it's encouraging and pleasing news.

What makes the data even more intriguing is that the latest round of tests saw the largest pool of players and other club staff tested (1130).

1:10 The Premier League's Project Restart was given a further boost with no positive tests from the fourth round of coronavirus testing The Premier League's Project Restart was given a further boost with no positive tests from the fourth round of coronavirus testing

Prior to these latest results, both the Premier League and government had expressed reserved optimism with just 12 positive tests overall.

Now with 3882 tests undertaken in total, the percentage of positive tests drops to just above 0.3 per cent.

In a week when many clubs stepped up their training after the government last Monday allowed 'close-contact' training to begin again, these figures will allow for further optimism.

As both the government and the Premier League have been keen to make clear, the health and safety of all players and staff is paramount.

So while there is further cause for optimism after the fourth round of tests, it remains crucial that the rigorous hygiene and medical processes put in place continue to work.

The fifth round of testing is due to take on Monday and Tuesday of next week, following the government now formally allowing elite sport to resume.

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PL optimistic fans will return next season

Fri, 05/29/2020 - 13:00
In an exclusive interview, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters also says he expects VAR to be in use for the remainder of this season By Calum Wilson

Last Updated: 29/05/20 1:03pm

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters is hopeful fans can return next season Premier League chief executive Richard Masters is hopeful fans can return next season Premier League chief executive Richard Masters is hopeful fans can return next season

The Premier League says there is "optimism that we will see fans back in the stadiums next season" but that crowds are likely to return "on a phased basis".

Top-flight football is set to return after a three-month shutdown on June 17, with matches behind closed doors at venues yet to be finalised.

Sky Sports will show 64 of this season's remaining live Premier League games, and make 25 available free-to-air when play resumes.

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters reflected on the proposed return next month, the use of VAR in the remaining 92 matches this season and when supporters might be able to return to stadiums.

"No one knows when matches will move away from the behind closed doors model and it is right to have contingency plans in place, but there is optimism at the Premier League and at clubs that we will see fans back in the stadiums next season and it may happen on a phased basis," Masters said.

More to follow...

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Liverpool could win title at neutral venue on police advice

Fri, 05/29/2020 - 11:55
Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts of South Yorkshire Police: "The majority of remaining matches will be played, at home and away as scheduled, with a small number of fixtures taking place at neutral venues."

Last Updated: 29/05/20 12:44pm

Liverpool's long wait for a Premier League title may be over soon - but at a neutral venue Liverpool's long wait for a Premier League title may be over soon - but at a neutral venue Liverpool's long wait for a Premier League title may be over soon - but at a neutral venue

Liverpool could win the Premier League title at a neutral venue under police proposals.

Police have set out the Premier League matches they would like to be played at neutral venues, which could include Liverpool matches where the title could be won.

Jurgen Klopp's side need two more wins - or one if Manchester City lose their game in hand against Arsenal - to reach a points total which City would be unable to overtake.

The matches which have been requested to take place at neutral grounds are:

  • Manchester City v Liverpool
  • Manchester City v Newcastle
  • Manchester United v Sheffield United
  • Newcastle v Liverpool
  • Everton v Liverpool

The police statement adds that "the game in which Liverpool could secure the league title" should also be moved, but this may end up needing to be more than one match if the Reds did not clinch it at the first attempt.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts of South Yorkshire Police, the UK's football policing lead, said in a statement issued to the PA news agency: "Our discussions with the Premier League throughout this process have been positive, with a shared focus on the priority of public health.

"As such we have reached a consensus that balances the needs of football, while also minimising the demand on policing.

"The majority of remaining matches will be played, at home and away as scheduled, with a small number of fixtures taking place at neutral venues, which, contrary to some reports, have yet to be agreed."

The Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, says he will work with both police and supporters' groups to find a solution when it comes to games which may have to be played at neutral grounds.

The Merseyside derby has been identified as one fixture that may have to be played out of the city due to fears of fans congregating outside the stadium, as Liverpool look to secure the first title in 30 years.

Anderson said: "It is important that the local authority understands the concerns of both the police and also of supporters, the major priority is the health and safety of the people of the City. But we will also listen to concerns of supporter groups.

"One thing I would question is whether the Premier League could find a way of moving the fixtures that may provide the greater challenges, such as the Merseyside derby, to later in the fixture calendar, with the intention of attempting to take away some of those concerns."

How will having no fans inside the stadium impact Premier League clubs? Read more here

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Sky to show 64 live PL games - 25 free-to-air

Thu, 05/28/2020 - 18:25
Everton vs Liverpool live on Sky Sports and free-to-air on first full weekend back

Last Updated: 29/05/20 6:50am

Sky Sports will show 64 live Premier League games, and make 25 available free-to-air when the season resumes.

  • 64 live games on Sky Sports from provisional restart date of June 17
  • 25 games to be made freely available
  • New Sky Sports digital innovations also planned to enhance fan experience

The Premier League has confirmed the 2019/20 season will provisionally restart on Wednesday, June 17 and Sky, the UK's leading football broadcaster, will make 25 games available 'free to air' - including Everton vs Liverpool on the first full weekend back - for everyone in the UK to enjoy.

Sky Sports will show 64 live Premier League games when the season resumes. In addition to the 39 matches already scheduled to be broadcast exclusively live on Sky Sports before the coronavirus interruption, 25 more matches will be available on both Sky Sports Premier League and Sky's free-to-air Pick channel, allowing the whole nation to be part of the return of live sport.

The Premier League is back! The Premier League is back! The Premier League is back!

To celebrate the return of the Premier League, Sky Sports will also launch a host of innovative new features and updates to give fans an even more immersive experience and share the moments live with family and friends on virtual platforms.

Since live football games were postponed in early March, Sky has supported the Premier League's ambition to restart when Government health and safety advice allowed.

2:50 Alan Smith says it's been the news he has been waiting for with the Premier League set to resume on June 17 Alan Smith says it's been the news he has been waiting for with the Premier League set to resume on June 17

Sky CEO and EVP, UK and Europe, Stephen van Rooyen said: "The return of live sport is a big moment for the country, and we want the nation to join us. Sky has partnered with the Premier League clubs for nearly thirty years, and the strength of our partnership has never been more important. Our commitment to showing 25 matches 'free to air' for the first time in the history of Sky Sports recognises the unique times we are in, and our desire to play our part.

"We have developed some terrific new innovations to give football fans the very best experience of watching live sport, when going to the match with family and friends isn't possible, and we look forward to sharing these with football fans shortly."

1:00 There is nothing in sport like a comeback #IAmSport There is nothing in sport like a comeback #IAmSport

Rob Webster, managing director of Sky Sports, said: "Sky Sports strives to be sport's best partner, and our desire to connect football fans to more of what they love has never been stronger. We can't wait to bring football back for the nation."

Where could Premier League teams finish? Manchester United are just three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea Manchester United are just three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea Manchester United are just three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea

How high or low could your club finish in the league this season? With 92 games left to play, we reveal the best and worst scenario for every club.

Data guru Ben Mayhew has simulated every possible result from the remaining 92 games and calculated each club's range of possible final league positions - in addition to probabilities for each standing.

The results reveal it's all to play for in the race for Champions League qualification and the battle for top-flight survival...

Read more here

Premier League home advantage wiped out?

Omens in the Bundesliga for the Premier League? There have been only five home wins in 27 Bundesliga games played behind closed doors, which suggests home advantage is wiped out without fans.

That ratio represents a 25 per cent slump for success on home soil since the league restarted and underlines how fans in the stands are the key component to home advantage.

How will having no fans inside the stadium impact Premier League clubs? Read more here

How good or bad is your team's run-in?

Even if the restart does wipe out home advantage, the form of the 20 teams across the season to date still stands - with some facing sides with a far higher, or lower, average position than others.

For teams such as Newcastle in 13th, they may be looking on eagerly with five of the bottom six left to play. Less so perhaps for Crystal Palace, in 11th, who have every top-six side left to face, except Manchester City.

The title may be all but decided - so we'll leave that out of the equation - but the race for the Champions League still looks like it would have plenty of twists and turns. So what do the run-ins say about the chances of the runners and riders?

Read more here

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'If Liverpool want Werner, they'll get him'

Thu, 05/28/2020 - 11:17
Plus: 'Liverpool will get Timo Werner if they really want him'

Last Updated: 28/05/20 11:12pm

1:00 Erling Haaland will move to the Premier League in the future, says Jan Aage Fjortoft Erling Haaland will move to the Premier League in the future, says Jan Aage Fjortoft

Erling Haaland will end up playing in the Premier League one day, says Norwegian journalist and former Premier League striker Jan Aage Fjortoft.

Haaland is one of Europe's hottest properties having scored 29 goals in 27 games for RB Salzburg before moving to Borussia Dortmund in January and scoring 13 goals in 14 games.

Speaking on The Football Show, fellow Norwegian Fjortoft believes Haaland will "absolutely" play in the Premier League at one point, but he doesn't see that happening in the short term and praised the 19-year-old's development so far.

"What I've been impressed by Erling and the team around is they've chosen he places he can develop as a player.

"He went from Molde - where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was his manager, so you can imagine how hard it was for Manchester United not to get him when he moved to Dortmund! - to Red Bull Salzburg, a great arena for a young kid. And this time he went to Dortmund, which is a great place for him now.

Haaland has scored 13 goals in 14 games for Dortmund since moving from RB Salzburg Haaland has scored 13 goals in 14 games for Dortmund since moving from RB Salzburg Haaland has scored 13 goals in 14 games for Dortmund since moving from RB Salzburg

"Do I think he will play in the Premier League in the future? Absolutely, I think he will go to the Premier League eventually, but where he will end up, I am not sure.

"It might take him some time; I think it went quicker than he had thought in Salzburg, with success in the Champions League, but he is in a good place now.

"I can't see him moving in the short term, but in the long term yes, of course, he will end up in the Premier League, like all big players will eventually."

'If Liverpool want Werner, they'll get him' Timo Werner has been linked with several clubs across Europe Timo Werner has been linked with several clubs across Europe Timo Werner has been linked with several clubs across Europe

Speculation has also been rife surrounding RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner, who has 30 goals in 39 appearances this season.

He has been linked with several clubs across Europe, including Liverpool, but reports have suggested the Anfield club are reluctant to pay his £52m release clause before it expires on June 15.

Fjortoft says there is no doubt the 24-year-old German is good enough for Liverpool, but the move will depend on whether Liverpool really want him.

"He is good enough for Liverpool, and as with any team, when the best talent in Europe is available, they have to go for him.

"If you see Timo Werner this year, with Julien Nagelsmann, this big prospect of managers, he has turned him into a more complete player. He is now going deeper, a more complete player, and Nagelsmann should be proud of that.

"Timo Werner said if he will leave RB Leipzig, it will be abroad. Do I think he will go to Liverpool? It is hard to say in these times, as RB Leipzig's CEO said there is no chance you will get a cut price for Timo Werner, but let's be honest, if Liverpool want a player, they will get that player!"

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Timo Werner: A striker in demand

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 13:14
Nick Wright

Comment and Analysis @nicholaspwright

Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City have all been linked with the 24-year-old, who has a £52m release clause

Last Updated: 27/05/20 6:16pm

Timo Werner has scored 30 goals for RB Leipzig this season Timo Werner has scored 30 goals for RB Leipzig this season Timo Werner has scored 30 goals for RB Leipzig this season

The speculation over Timo Werner's future has intensified with the news he is "ready to sign for Liverpool" if his £52m release clause is met. His name has long been linked with the European champions and they are not the only Premier League club said to be monitoring him.

It is hardly surprising that he is a player in demand. Over the course of the last four years with RB Leipzig, the 24-year-old has established himself as one of the most exciting young players in the Bundesliga.

Werner reminded the world of his talents with a hat-trick on Sunday - helping his side cruise to a 5-0 win at Mainz - and will look to maintain that form against Hertha Berlin on Wednesday.

Follow live coverage of RB Leipzig vs Hertha Berlin on the Sky Sports website and app.

Timo Werner celebrates his second goal against Mainz Timo Werner celebrates his second goal against Mainz Timo Werner celebrates his second goal against Mainz

This season has been his best yet, with 30 goals scored in 38 games so far, taking his overall total for RB Leipzig to 91 in 152 appearances. For the German national side, he boasts a total of 11 goals in 29 games.

His RB Leipzig tally for this season includes four goals in the Champions League, one of which came during Leipzig's 1-0 win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in February.

Werner certainly played like he was eager to prove a point on English soil that night in north London, scoring coolly from the penalty spot in the second half and causing Spurs major problems throughout with his explosive speed and movement across the front line. Jose Mourinho's side were fortunate, in fact, that he only breached them once. He was similarly impressive during the 3-0 win back in Germany that secured Leipzig's passage to the last eight.

The right fit for Liverpool Timo Werner celebrates his goal against Tottenham Timo Werner celebrates his goal against Tottenham Timo Werner celebrates his goal against Tottenham

Werner has made no secret of his desire to move to Liverpool. In an interview with Sky in Germany before the emergence of last week's reports, he described Jurgen Klopp as "the best coach in the world", adding: "There are many things that would suggest my style of play might be a good fit."

It is understood that Werner is not currently seen as a priority for the Reds, but it is certainly true that he looks a good fit for them. His talent is such that he might even be able to challenge Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino for a place in Klopp's starting line-up.

His biggest strength is his clinical finishing ability. Since his move from Stuttgart to RB Leipzig at the start of the 2016/17 season, only Robert Lewandowski has scored more Bundesliga goals. It's the context in which he has thrived, however, that is most pertinent to Liverpool.

Like the Reds under Klopp, RB Leipzig play modern, high-intensity football under Julian Nagelsmann with an emphasis on counter attacks. It is an approach Werner fits perfectly. His speed and directness in transition can be devastatingly effective. According to Opta, he ranks top for both shots and goals from fast breaks in the Bundesliga this season.

The majority of Werner's goals have come from the central striking position this season, but he is tactically flexible - RB Leipzig have used nine different formations in the Bundesliga this season - and he is also comfortable playing in wide positions, particularly when cutting inside from the left.

A statistical comparison with Salah underlines his effectiveness. In fact, the underlying numbers show that Werner has outperformed the Egyptian this season in terms of expected goals, averaging 0.63 xG per 90 minutes compared to Salah's 0.47. He is slightly behind Salah for touches in the opposition box, but he matches him for dribbles.

One area in which Salah comes out on top, however, is in off-the-ball pressing. According to StatsBomb data, Salah has averaged 18 pressures to Werner's 14 per 90 minutes this season and wins possession from those situations nearly twice as frequently as the German.

Werner might need to step up his off-the-ball efforts if he ends up at Anfield, then, but there can be no concerns over his work-rate. On the contrary, he has impressed Nagelsmann at RB Leipzig with his determination and desire to improve. "He's an outstanding guy," he said, "very clear in his mind and he knows how to assess himself. You can tell him what's good and bad and he doesn't take it personally."

An enticing option for other suitors Timo Werner joined RB Leipzig from Stuttgart in 2016 Timo Werner joined RB Leipzig from Stuttgart in 2016 Timo Werner joined RB Leipzig from Stuttgart in 2016

Another factor in Werner's favour is his age. The forward has already amassed close to 300 senior appearances since making his professional debut for Stuttgart in 2013, but he only turned 24 in March.

His suitors will be confident that his best is yet to come and his profile is sure to be appealing to Manchester United as well as Liverpool. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side showed considerable attacking improvement after the January arrivals of Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo, but there is still room for reinforcements in the central striking position.

Solskjaer has spoken repeatedly about United's need for a finisher who can score the "tap-ins and ugly goals", and while Ighalo provided a short-term solution to the problem, it's easy to see why they might favour Werner for the long term. This season, all but two of his Bundesliga goals have come from inside the box.

Manchester City could also be tempted to make a move for him as they begin to plan for life after Sergio Aguero, who turns 32 this summer, and there have been reports of interest from Chelsea too.

Frank Lampard has already bolstered his attack with a deal for Ajax's Hakim Ziyech, but a new striker to rival Tammy Abraham for a starting spot is likely to be next on his list.

With his £52m release clause due to expire in the middle of June, there are sure to be more developments on Werner's future in the weeks and months ahead. What's already certain is that he has plenty to offer the Premier League's elite.

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Premier League clubs approve return to contact training

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 12:15
Premier League clubs will meet again on Thursday to discuss contingency plans on relegation and the awarding of the title, if the season has to be curtailed.

Last Updated: 27/05/20 11:24pm

2:53 Chief reporter Bryan Swanson explains the significance of the decision by Premier League clubs to vote in favour of returning to contact training Chief reporter Bryan Swanson explains the significance of the decision by Premier League clubs to vote in favour of returning to contact training

Premier League clubs have voted unanimously to approve a return to contact training, in another significant step towards the resumption of matches "when safe to do so".

Players had already resumed training last week in small groups while respecting social distancing measures, according to step one of the return to training protocols.

Several players, including Watford captain Troy Deeney and Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante, are not taking part in phase one of the return to training protocols because of concerns about coronavirus.

1:10 Waford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes offers support for captain Troy Deeney Waford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes offers support for captain Troy Deeney

Earlier this week, the UK government released its 'phase two' guidance for athletes and elite sportsmen and women to make a phased return to close-contact and competitive training, provided individual sports "have the appropriate carefully controlled medical conditions in place".

The official advice, aimed at helping competitors reach fitness levels required for matches, says close-contact training for elite athletes can include coaching and tackling in team sports within a two-metre distance, in groups of up to 12 players.

The Premier League discussed the updated government advice on contact training with club captains, managers and representatives from the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) and the League Managers Association (LMA) on conference calls on Tuesday afternoon.

It is understood no significant issues were raised during those calls, with one source describing the calls as "completely different to last week's call when several players expressed serious concerns about a return to football".

Players were told that the Premier League and the government have committed to further research into the risk to those from BAME backgrounds compared to other groups.

1:55 Joleon Lescott tells The Football Show he thinks between 2-5 per cent of BAME players have reservations about returning to football Joleon Lescott tells The Football Show he thinks between 2-5 per cent of BAME players have reservations about returning to football

That paved the way for Premier League clubs to vote yes to resuming contact training.

The Premier League said in a statement: "Premier League Shareholders today voted unanimously to resume contact training, marking another step towards restarting the Premier League season, when safe to do so.

"Squads are now able to train as a group and engage in tackling while minimising any unnecessary close contact.

"The Premier League's priority is the health and wellbeing of all participants.

"Strict medical protocols are in place to ensure the training ground is the safest environment possible and players and staff will continue to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week.

"Stage Two of the Return to Training protocol has been agreed following consultation with clubs, players, managers, the PFA, LMA and the Government.

"Discussions are ongoing as work continues towards resuming the season, when conditions allow."

1:33 Gary Neville sees no reason why players’ fitness levels will be an issue for a potential Premier League restart on June 19 Gary Neville sees no reason why players’ fitness levels will be an issue for a potential Premier League restart on June 19

All 20 clubs have now completed the third round of COVID-19 tests and results are expected to be published by the Premier League on Wednesday afternoon.

There have been eight positive cases from 1,744 tests conducted across the first two rounds.

Thursday is another important day for the Premier League. That is when all other aspects of Project Restart will be discussed, including the league's contingency plans on relegation, the issue of the use of points-per-game, and the award of the Premier League title, if the season has to be curtailed.

Why a return to contact training is so important

The significance of contact training is that it's the single biggest step towards the resumption of matches.

Throughout the pandemic there have been concerns raised about the risks associated with training and what it takes for coronavirus to be transmitted on the pitch.

But there has been cautious optimism from the first two rounds of testing after more than 99.5 per cent of results came back negative. There have been eight positive results, including at least two players, out of nearly 1,750 tests, so coronavirus is not widespread in clubs at the moment, at least not among those players and staff that have been tested.

If there is no spike in positive tests, with fewer negative results over more tests, it will give the authorities, and clubs, the confidence that it will be safe to resume competitive games next month.

COVID-19 impact on football

March 5 - Pre-match handshakes banned in the Premier League.
March 11 - Man City vs Arsenal is first Premier League game suspended; Liverpool v Atletico Madrid the last top level game played in England.
March 12 - Man Utd, Wolves play away Europa League ties behind closed doors, Rangers host Bayer Leverkusen in front of fans.
March 13 - Football suspended following an emergency meeting between PL, FA, EFL and WSL
April 15 - SPFL clubs approve plan to end the Scottish Championship, League One and league Two seasons.
May 15 - League Two clubs vote to end the season with immediate effect.
May 17 - Premier League players and staff tested for COVID-19.
May 18 - Scottish Premiership curtailed, with points per game determining league positions and Celtic named champions.
May 19 - Premier League clubs return to socially distanced group training.
May 25 - Women's Super League cancelled, with title and relegation to be determined.
May 27 -Premier League clubs vote to resume contact training.

So when will matches restart?

The Premier League says a proposed date of June 12 remains flexible.

Administrators want to avoid changing dates too much, and we should be clearer on when the league can restart by the end of this week.

If everything goes to plan with contact training, a third vote, on a specific date, is expected in due course.

Clubs could soon vote on a Premier League restart date Clubs could soon vote on a Premier League restart date Clubs could soon vote on a Premier League restart date

The Premier League has said they cannot restart games without the support of players and managers. There were further talks with club captains and managers on Tuesday, led by Premier League chair Gary Hoffman, Dr Mark Gillett, the league's medical adviser, and Richard Garlick, the Premier League's director of football.

Managers and players will have passed on their thoughts for club executives to share in this latest summit prior to a vote.

Does this rule out the season being ended early?

"Curtailment is still a possibility", reiterated Richard Masters, the Premier League chief executive, last Friday.

In other words, the Premier League is still weighing up what will happen if they cannot fulfil their remaining 92 games.

The Football Association, as a special shareholder, can have the final say on promotion and relegation but it has never indicated it will intervene in the running of the Premier League.

Clubs will meet again on Thursday to discuss contingency planning, but it remains the wishes of all 20 clubs to finish the season.

Wasn't there a UEFA deadline this week?

UEFA had asked Europe's top leagues, including the Premier League, to provide an update on their restart date and format by the start of this week.

But European football's governing body postponed a key executive committee meeting on May 27 until June 17 due to outstanding issues over proposed venues for the rearranged Euro 2020 next year.

UEFA hasn't announced a delay for leagues to respond but they haven't exactly rushed to receive answers from associations either.

The Premier League remains in regular dialogue with UEFA, so everybody seems comfortable with executives reviewing plans in mid-June which include qualification for next season's Champions League and Europa League.

How GPS vests can help... 0:49 STATSports co-founder Sean O'Connor explains how GPS vests can play a role in monitoring players during contact training STATSports co-founder Sean O'Connor explains how GPS vests can play a role in monitoring players during contact training

STATSports co-founder Sean O'Connor told Sky Sports News how GPS vests can play a role in monitoring players during contact training.

"The average duration that one player will spend within two metres of another is just over three seconds," he said. "It's quite a small amount of time. All of that research was conducted on pre-COVID training sessions.

"[We can] give specific feedback in terms of what type of drills will increase the number of incursions, which type of drills will increase the duration of those incursions as well."

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Mbappe: Klopp behind 'ruthless Liverpool machine'

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 06:59
PSG forward also discusses winning the Ballon d'Or, saying it "is not something that keeps me awake at night"

Last Updated: 27/05/20 2:25pm

Kylian Mbappe has been impressed by Liverpool this season Kylian Mbappe has been impressed by Liverpool this season Kylian Mbappe has been impressed by Liverpool this season

Kylian Mbappe has revealed how impressed he has been by Liverpool this season, saying Jurgen Klopp has turned them into a "ruthless machine".

The Reds have dominated the 2019/20 Premier League, and sat 25 points ahead of second-placed Manchester City when the competition was halted due to coronavirus in March.

Liverpool's success has impressed Mbappe, who has been taking note from France, where his PSG side were declared champions for the seventh time in eight years after the season was curtailed.

He told The Mirror: "This season Liverpool have been a machine in the Premier League. They have made winning look easy - but the truth is that is never easy.

Jurgen Klopp's side are set to claim their first Premier League title, with plans for matches to resume next month Jurgen Klopp's side are set to claim their first Premier League title, with plans for matches to resume next month Jurgen Klopp's side are set to claim their first Premier League title, with plans for matches to resume next month

"To be as ruthless as they have been would come from having a very good manager and lots of hard work in training. Performances like they have been having don't just happen."

The 21-year-old is no stranger to success himself, having already won four French titles, a French Cup, a French League Cup, as well as the World Cup with France in 2018.

Mbappe finished fourth in the vote for the Ballon d'Or that year, but he says climbing to the top of that podium to claim football's biggest individual honour is not one of his priorities.

1:16 Jurgen Klopp joked that the return of football will give Gary Neville a chance to have some time off! Jurgen Klopp joked that the return of football will give Gary Neville a chance to have some time off!

"It would be nice to win - but it is not something that keeps me awake at night," he said. "I don't think I have to win it next season or the season after - there is no time limit I have put on it.

"Always I will put PSG and the national team as my priority - then if personal honours come from my performances then it is a bonus."

Analysis: How can Liverpool improve? Liverpool lead the Premier League by 25 points Liverpool lead the Premier League by 25 points Liverpool lead the Premier League by 25 points

Sky Sports' Adam Bate...

'Liverpool have not even had the chance to wrap up that first league title in 30 years yet but such is the capacity for football to throw things forward - even when at a standstill - that it feels natural for thoughts to turn to how Jurgen Klopp's side might be able to improve.

'Not easy with a team that was on course to break the Premier League points record...'

Read more here

Liverpool transfer rumours

Timo Werner, Rav van den Berg, Adama Traore, Leroy Sane and more...

The latest transfer news and gossip on the players linked with Liverpool - and those who could leave the club.

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Liverpool-Atletico, Cheltenham Festival 'led to more deaths'

Tue, 05/26/2020 - 17:22
The government had repeatedly dismissed the need to cancel mass gatherings in the days leading up to the events By Isobel Frodsham, Sky News

Last Updated: 26/05/20 5:26pm

More than 50,000 fans attended Liverpool's game against Atletico Madrid at Anfield in March More than 50,000 fans attended Liverpool's game against Atletico Madrid at Anfield in March More than 50,000 fans attended Liverpool's game against Atletico Madrid at Anfield in March

Liverpool's Champions League home match against Atletico Madrid and the Cheltenham Festival contributed to an increase in coronavirus deaths in the UK, a scientist has said.

Professor Tim Spector, from King's College London, said the two events held in March had "caused increased suffering and death that wouldn't otherwise have occurred".

He said data from an app used to report COVID-19 symptoms showed that Cheltenham and the North West both became "key hotspots" for the coronavirus.

Over a quarter of a million people attended this year's Cheltenham Festival Over a quarter of a million people attended this year's Cheltenham Festival Over a quarter of a million people attended this year's Cheltenham Festival

Despite several European countries and cities already being in lockdown by the time the sports fixtures took place, Prime Minister Boris Johnson waited until 23 March to announce his own "stay at home" message in the UK.

More than 251,000 people attended the Cheltenham Festival from March 16-19 this year - a drop of nearly 15,000 compared to 2019.

Liverpool's exit from the last-16 of the Champions League on March 11 was watched by around 52,000 people inside Anfield, including 3,000 visiting supporters who had travelled from Madrid - where such events had already been suspended.

Atletico knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League at Anfield winning 3-2 after extra-time to prevail 4-2 on aggregate Atletico knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League at Anfield winning 3-2 after extra-time to prevail 4-2 on aggregate Atletico knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League at Anfield winning 3-2 after extra-time to prevail 4-2 on aggregate

By the time Mr Johnson ordered the lockdown, the number of coronavirus cases in the UK stood at 6,650 and the number of deaths was 336.

Since then, nearly 37,000 people have died in the UK after contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, and there have been more than 262,000 cases.

Last month, Liverpool City Council announced plans to jointly investigate the spread of the virus in Merseyside, alongside the University of Liverpool and John Moores University, following the match.

Professor Spector, who works in genetic epidemiology research, said: "Two weeks after the Cheltenham Festival and the Liverpool game against Atletico Madrid, we saw the number of people reporting COVID symptoms in the COVID Symptom Study app from those particular areas increase and both areas became key hotspots in the UK.

"This suggests that both events were, in part, a cause for the spread of COVID-19 in those areas."

Cheltenham became a 'key hotspot' for the coronavirus following the Festival Cheltenham became a 'key hotspot' for the coronavirus following the Festival Cheltenham became a 'key hotspot' for the coronavirus following the Festival

Data from the Kings College study shows a higher number of cases in Cheltenham and Liverpool compared to their surrounding areas from 22 March to 29 March.

Liverpool City Council's director of public health Matthew Ashton is convinced the game against Atletico Madrid should not have gone ahead.

But the government believes the events took place within "clear guidance" given at the time.

A spokesman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport told Sky News: ''It is our absolute priority to protect people's health and our advice to the public is based on direct, continuous consultation with scientific and medical experts.

"There are many factors that could influence the number of cases in a particular area, including population density, age, general health, and the position of an area on the pandemic curve."

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Robbie Fowler's 10,000-mile 'trust plan'

Sun, 05/24/2020 - 07:00
Head coach has returned to UK after suspension of A-League in Australia By Bryan Swanson, Sky Sports News Chief Reporter

Last Updated: 24/05/20 8:22am

0:59 Brisbane Roar captain Tom Aldred says head coach Robbie Fowler has put 'a lot of trust' in his players and their fitness plans from 10,000 miles away. Brisbane Roar captain Tom Aldred says head coach Robbie Fowler has put 'a lot of trust' in his players and their fitness plans from 10,000 miles away.

Brisbane Roar head coach Robbie Fowler has put "a lot of trust" in his players and their fitness plans from 10,000 miles away, the club's captain has said.

Tom Aldred and his team-mates remain in regular contact with Fowler, who has returned to the UK after the suspension of the A-League in Australia.

Aldred says the former Liverpool striker remains 'brilliant with his feet' having shown so in training sessions before the start of the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.

"He's put a lot of responsibility on the fitness coaches here to keep the boys fit," Aldred told Sky Sports News from Links Hope Island in Queensland.

Brisbane captain Tom Aldred, along with the rest of the squad, have been given fitness plans by Fowler Brisbane captain Tom Aldred, along with the rest of the squad, have been given fitness plans by Fowler Brisbane captain Tom Aldred, along with the rest of the squad, have been given fitness plans by Fowler

"He went back to the UK when we knew the season was going to be postponed for a while, which is obviously understandable.

"He's got a family back there and it was a massive sacrifice for him to come here without his family and I can imagine that being tough for him. He's stayed in touch and he spoke to us on WhatsApp and video messenger.

"The gaffer's put sports scientists in touch with us. He's put a lot of trust in the people at the club. As a squad, we're ultra-fit. Training and the conditions here are tough; it's hot, it's tropical.

"He's been giving lads plans and checking in and seeing how our fitness is. The boys are going to need to be fit and it could be a two or three day turnaround [when games resume] so fitness is going to be key."

Fowler's side won their last three matches prior to the suspension of the A-League Fowler's side won their last three matches prior to the suspension of the A-League Fowler's side won their last three matches prior to the suspension of the A-League

Brisbane are fourth-placed in the A-League and Aldred has called a proposed 'hub' plan to finish this season's game in one location in August a 'great idea'.

His team-mates include former Celtic striker Scott McDonald and former Rochdale midfielder Brad Inman.

McDonald, and the club's forwards, can expect more direct training drills from Fowler when they return.

"He's always in the ears of the strikers," he smiles. "His finishing is as good as I've seen, to be fair. He's very, very good. When he does like to get involved with the lads up front, he can finish that's for sure.

"He joins in little boxes and the little rondos and he's brilliant with his feet. He does his bit of fitness work now and again. His ability is there for all to see. I always give him a bit of banter because, when he's on my team, he never tracks any runners, but he ends up putting the ball in the net."

Fowler has been sharing striking advice with the likes of former Celtic forward Scott McDonald Fowler has been sharing striking advice with the likes of former Celtic forward Scott McDonald Fowler has been sharing striking advice with the likes of former Celtic forward Scott McDonald

Aldred, a Manchester United supporter, has joked with Fowler about curtailing the season after Liverpool's runaway success in the Premier League.

"I've said they should knock it on the head and finish it," he laughs. "I was giving him a bit of banter before this all broke out, and he just couldn't wait to get the games done so Liverpool can be crowned champions which, obviously, they do, as much as it pains me to say, deserve it."

EFL clubs 'need government support' 0:33 Former Blackpool and Accrington Stanley defender Tom Aldred believes EFL clubs must be supported by government funding so they do not 'die off' as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Former Blackpool and Accrington Stanley defender Tom Aldred believes EFL clubs must be supported by government funding so they do not 'die off' as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Aldred, a former defender at Bury, Blackpool and Accrington Stanley, has called on the authorities to offer financial support to clubs in the lower leagues.

"League One and League Two rely heavily on gate receipts," he says. "As a football player, football without fans is nothing. A lot of clubs will struggle because they rely heavily on gate receipts.

"You're going to have to let fans get back through the gates at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later from a safety aspect. There's going to have to be a lot of funding in place from government to keep clubs alive because clubs have fans and families and it's almost a religion to these fans.

"To let these clubs die off, in these types of circumstances, would be horrific. I'm sure some will need some support, and hopefully governments and different unions can give them that."

1:57 Fleetwood manager Joey Barton would like to see the League One season completed, but feels the conclusion to the campaign must be fair for everyone Fleetwood manager Joey Barton would like to see the League One season completed, but feels the conclusion to the campaign must be fair for everyone SPFL 'right' to end season

Aldred has supported the decision of the Scottish Professional Football League [SPFL] to end their seasons.

In May 2018, he played in a Scottish Cup final for Motherwell, against Celtic, and his former club has finished third in the Scottish Premiership.

"Great decision, really happy with it," Aldred says. "It was probably the right thing to do up there. I know they'd had a lot of discussions. You will go away and know you've not played the right amount of games. However, as a player, when you look at the season as a whole, you come away from it, maybe in a month or two's time, you will know yourselves if you've done yourself justice."

Tears and cheers at Wembley 1:04 Former Blackpool defender Tom Aldred reflects on the 'amazing feeling' of having helped lead the club to promotion to League One at Wembley three years ago. Former Blackpool defender Tom Aldred reflects on the 'amazing feeling' of having helped lead the club to promotion to League One at Wembley three years ago.

Three years ago, Aldred limped off the pitch in tears at Wembley after only half an hour during their play-off final against Exeter.

"I was frustrated and devastated," he reflects. "I knew early on I had an Achilles problem and that I wasn't going to last the 90 minutes. I remember the opposition manager from Exeter [Paul Tisdale] was very consoling. As soon as I got in the changing room, I remember thinking 'just get the job done lads' and fortunately we managed to get it over the line."

After spending time in an ice bath, Aldred was able to lead his side up to the royal box and celebrate his side's 2-1 win.

"The whole emotions came out in the day," he says. "We had a really good manager in Gary Bowyer, who galvanised the squad and we had some good players in there, players who've had really good careers.

"You see many clubs dropping to League Two and it takes them years to get out of it, but we bounced back straight away, and put Blackpool in a position where they're on the up.

"It was an amazing day, to get promoted at Wembley, as captain, and lift the trophy at Wembley is a proud moment and one that I will look back on. I can't believe it was three years ago, it seems like yesterday."

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Liverpool chairman: It's important to finish PL season

Fri, 05/22/2020 - 08:54
"The more important thing is if we can figure out a way to get these matches played because I think it would be good for the country"

Last Updated: 22/05/20 3:10pm

1:37 Liverpool chairman Tom Werner admits the club's pursuit of the Premier League title has been put in perspective by the coronavirus pandemic Liverpool chairman Tom Werner admits the club's pursuit of the Premier League title has been put in perspective by the coronavirus pandemic

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner feels it would be "good for the country" to complete the Premier League season.

The Reds squad returned to training at Melwood on Wednesday after a two-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with the players working in small groups and following social distancing guidelines prior to the resumption of contact training.

The return to training is especially significant for Jurgen Klopp's side, who are 25 points clear at the top of the table, needing just two wins from their remaining nine games to clinch the Premier League title.

0:33 Jurgen Klopp says he 'couldn't wait' to return to training this week, but insists Liverpool will need to be creative as they adapt to social distancing measures Jurgen Klopp says he 'couldn't wait' to return to training this week, but insists Liverpool will need to be creative as they adapt to social distancing measures

Their chairman Werner wants to see the season completed but accepts safety - and the discovery of a vaccine - is a key priority as the pandemic continues.

"The more important thing is if we can figure out a way to get these matches played because I think it would be good for the country," he said.

"The most important thing is safety. I do think the protocols that the Premier League are working on as somebody said its probably safer to play behind closed doors than to go to a supermarket.

3:30 Sir Kenny Dalglish feels neutral grounds would be the best option for finishing the Premier League season Sir Kenny Dalglish feels neutral grounds would be the best option for finishing the Premier League season

"It's a terrible situation we're all in. Someday, hopefully, there will be a vaccine and we can return to the joy of being in a stadium and watching the elegant play of great football players."

In the first two weeks of the lockdown, Liverpool decided to place some non-playing staff on a government furloughing scheme to cut costs but reversed that decision after backlash from their fans.

The club has also maintained funding for community work, from supporting fans challenged by mental health issues to providing supplies for food banks.

"It's better to admit to a mistake than to dig your heels in," said Werner. "Hopefully people will know that all we really care about is trying to support the fans and support our players and our club in a way that is sustainable."

Henderson's hopes for Liverpool 9:11 Jordan Henderson is delighted to be back in training and has challenged Liverpool to 'pick up where they left off' when the season resumes Jordan Henderson is delighted to be back in training and has challenged Liverpool to 'pick up where they left off' when the season resumes

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has challenged the Reds to "pick up where they left off" when the Premier League season resumes.

The footballing authorities are yet to reach an agreement on the exact date of the Premier League's behind-closed-doors return, but Henderson insists he and his team-mates have kept themselves sharp during lockdown with a view to picking up where they left off before the interruption.

"To be honest, my mindset hasn't changed from where we left off because I always felt as though the season needed finishing at some point, whenever it was safe to do so," Henderson - speaking to Sky Sports' Patrick Davison - said.

"So, in my head, it's always been [important] to stay as fit as I can because when the time comes that we do go back and we do start playing games, I need to be ready and so do my team-mates.

Liverpool and Mohamed Salah need two wins from the nine games remaining on the fixture list to win the Premier League title Liverpool and Mohamed Salah need two wins from the nine games remaining on the fixture list to win the Premier League title Liverpool and Mohamed Salah need two wins from the nine games remaining on the fixture list to win the Premier League title

"We all need to be ready for when that time comes to be able to perform at the highest level and finish the season as well as we've started it and maintained it up until this point.

"That's been our motivation to keep training and keep as fit as possible, so when the time comes, we pick up where we left off."

On a return to training he said: "It's been great to get back and see the lads, get the balls out and be able to pass into each other and interact a little bit

"Football is taken away from you and it's obviously difficult because at the end of the day it's the most important thing to us. "But then something like this happens and it puts everything in perspective."

Klopp: We must adapt - but we'll be ready 8:58 Jurgen Klopp says it felt 'special' to return to training for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown Jurgen Klopp says it felt 'special' to return to training for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown

Klopp has insisted Liverpool will do everything in their power to prepare for a resumption of competition, despite the challenges.

"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."

"We will be in the best possible shape we can be. You know from pre-seasons, managers usually say, 'We don't know where exactly we stand at this moment, we need maybe one, two, three or four games to know more about our situation'.

"But now, the challenge is that we all have to be ready for the first game, whenever it will be. That's interesting. Our game is, for different reasons, always different.

"You never have the same game again. You never have the same situation again. Everything can be perfect for a second, then you have injured players and you have to adapt to that.

"Now it's a situation we don't know. None of us know when we will start. The earlier they can tell us, the better it is, of course.

"But for all the teams, it's the same, and that's what makes a competition. If all the teams have the same circumstances, then you have a proper competition. That's what we are preparing for."

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Henderson: Great to be back in training

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 15:00
Jordan Henderson tells Sky Sports' Patrick Davison about Liverpool's return to training and why he respects any Premier League players who have decided to stay away

Last Updated: 21/05/20 3:37pm

9:11 Jordan Henderson spoke to Sky Sports about Liverpool's return to training Jordan Henderson spoke to Sky Sports about Liverpool's return to training

Jordan Henderson is delighted to be back in training and has challenged Liverpool to "pick up where they left off" when the Premier League season resumes.

The Liverpool captain joined his team-mates as they returned to Melwood on Wednesday following a two-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Liverpool, like all Premier League sides, are working in small groups and following social distancing guidelines as they wait for the resumption of contact training, but Henderson says he and his team-mates are just happy to be back on the grass - even if the outbreak has put things in perspective.

"It's been great to get back and see the lads, get the balls out and be able to pass into each other and interact a little bit," he told Sky Sports' Patrick Davison.

"It's been really good and something I've looked forward to for a while now.

"I think a lot of lads will be the same. Football is taken away from you and it's obviously difficult because at the end of the day it's the most important thing to us.

"But then something like this happens and it puts everything in perspective. I feel lucky to be in the position that I'm in.

Jordan Henderson arrives at Melwood for training Jordan Henderson arrives at Melwood for training Jordan Henderson arrives at Melwood for training

"You have a lot of time to reflect and think about things, but ultimately I was itching to get back playing football as soon as possible once everything had calmed down a bit and it was safe to do so."

Henderson kept in regular contact with team-mates and staff throughout the lockdown, but admits he missed the camaraderie in the Liverpool dressing room.

"You miss the banter," he said. "You miss preparing the games. You miss training and working hard with a view to having a game on the weekend or in midweek.

"It's just everything that you do on a day-to-day basis that you miss.

"But we're so fortunate to be playing football and be in the position that we're in. Sometimes you can take that for granted, but at times like this, you realise how lucky you are."

'My mindset hasn't changed' Jurgen Klopp and Jordan Henderson embrace Jurgen Klopp and Jordan Henderson embrace Jurgen Klopp and Jordan Henderson embrace

The footballing authorities are yet to reach an agreement on the exact date of the Premier League's behind-closed-doors return, but Henderson insists he and his team-mates have kept themselves sharp during lockdown with a view to picking up where they left off before the interruption.

Jurgen Klopp's side are 25 points clear at the top of the table, needing just two wins from their remaining nine games to clinch the Premier League title, but Henderson insists there is no room for complacency.

"To be honest, my mindset hasn't changed from where we left off because I always felt as though the season needed finishing at some point, whenever it was safe to do so," he said.

8:58 Jurgen Klopp says it felt 'special' to return to training for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown Jurgen Klopp says it felt 'special' to return to training for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown

"So, in my head, it's always been [important] to stay as fit as I can because when the time comes that we do go back and we do start playing games, I need to be ready and so do my team-mates.

"We all need to be ready for when that time comes to be able to perform at the highest level and finish the season as well as we've started it and maintained it up until this point.

"That's been our motivation to keep training and keep as fit as possible, so when the time comes, we pick up where we left off."

'I feel very safe at the training ground' Liverpool need just two more wins to clinch the title Liverpool need just two more wins to clinch the title Liverpool need just two more wins to clinch the title

Henderson insists he has no safety concerns about the return to training, saying he and his team-mates have been made to feel completely comfortable around Melwood.

"I feel very comfortable with all the measures the Premier League and the club have put in place, along with all my other team-mates," he said.

"We feel comfortable and that's why we're here training. In terms of next steps, obviously we'll be guided by the experts and the doctors who ultimately know more than we do.

"We've had meetings and questions as captains over the last week or so, but ultimately, I think the Premier League and clubs are doing everything they can to make it as safe as possible.

"The testing, the temperature control, the social distancing and the disinfecting of everything has been a really high level since we came back."

1:30 Jamie Carragher says the Premier League will be hugely relieved by the low number of confirmed cases in its first round of coronavirus testing Jamie Carragher says the Premier League will be hugely relieved by the low number of confirmed cases in its first round of coronavirus testing

Following the news of six positive tests for coronavirus across the Premier League, however, Henderson insists he fully respects the decisions of players such as Watford's Troy Deeney and Chelsea's N'Golo Kante to stay away from training - and would support any team-mates who felt the same.

"I fully respect their opinion and their decision to do that," he said. "I think everybody is in a different situation with their family and at home. Ultimately, if you don't feel comfortable or safe, you shouldn't feel forced or pressured to come into work.

"I fully respect the lads that don't feel comfortable as of yet, and I hope that they respect my opinion and that of the other players who have come back.

"Everybody's situation is different but ultimately, for me, I feel very safe here at the training ground, otherwise I wouldn't be here. My team-mates as well.

"I can only really speak for us, but I fully respect people in different situations who don't feel comfortable. If any of my team-mates felt like that, I would fully support them and back them until they felt it was right to come back."

'More to come from #PlayersTogether' Harry Kane and Harry Maguire are also key figures in the #PlayersTogether scheme Harry Kane and Harry Maguire are also key figures in the #PlayersTogether scheme Harry Kane and Harry Maguire are also key figures in the #PlayersTogether scheme

During the lockdown, Henderson spearheaded the #PlayersTogether initiative, a collaboration between Premier League players to provide financial support to the NHS during the fight against coronavirus.

The 29-year-old was delighted by how players pulled together and says they are aiming to announce more measures to support the NHS in the weeks ahead.

"It was down to players across the board in the Premier League really, especially the captains and representatives of each club who wanted to do something to make a difference," he said.

"Hats off to all of them for the help that they gave to support the NHS in the #PlayersTogether campaign. That's been a real positive for the whole Premier League over this difficult period.

"We're working on one or two things in the next few weeks as well, so hopefully that can get done and be another good thing."

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Martin: My West Ham love story

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 08:00
Nick Wright

Comment and Analysis @nicholaspwright

West Ham goalkeeper David Martin tells Sky Sports about living the dream at West Ham and his tearful celebration against Chelsea

Last Updated: 21/05/20 8:35am

David Martin made his West Ham debut at the age of 33 in November David Martin made his West Ham debut at the age of 33 in November David Martin made his West Ham debut at the age of 33 in November

David Martin remembers kickabouts with Julian Dicks and Ian Bishop at West Ham's training ground. He remembers the smell of burgers and cigarettes at Upton Park. He remembers the roar of the crowd when his father, Alvin, lifted him onto his shoulders after their promotion in 1991.

West Ham is in his blood - "I was born into it," he tells Sky Sports - but these days he's the one wearing the shirt and his father's the one watching on from the stands. Their emotional embrace after his debut at Stamford Bridge in November showed how much it means to them.

"It's still not really sunk in now," he says, speaking from his home via video call. "The other day I was out doing a bike ride and it hit me again: 'I've made my debut for my dream club, against Chelsea, and kept a clean sheet'. The hug with dad was a bit emotional and a bit embarrassing, but it was just great to share it with him. It's something I'd dreamt of."

It's something he might easily have given up on too.

Martin had to wait until he was 33 to represent West Ham for the first time. His father, the former centre-back, had made nearly 500 appearances at the same age. But Martin Jnr's road from the terraces to the first-team was long and winding. It took him from Liverpool to Leicester, from Milton Keynes to Millwall.

David Martin is congratulated by his West Ham team-mates at Stamford Bridge David Martin is congratulated by his West Ham team-mates at Stamford Bridge David Martin is congratulated by his West Ham team-mates at Stamford Bridge

He didn't even become a goalkeeper until the age of 14. "I was a centre-back at Tottenham at the time," he says. "I'd always been put in that position because of my dad. But whenever they needed a goalie, I'd always put my hand up. I loved it, diving at people's feet and the rest of it."

It wasn't easy telling his father that he wanted to change position - "it was a tough conversation," he says - but Martin Snr supported the decision and soon set him up with after-school coaching sessions with Les Sealy, West Ham's former goalkeeping coach. "That starting point with Les was the biggest help I've had from dad," he says.

Martin joined Wimbledon, who became MK Dons, and from there, only a few years after deciding to become a goalkeeper, he earned a move to Liverpool. "It was surreal," he says. "I was 19 and I remember going in on the first day and bumping into Steven Gerrard in the corridor."

It was a thrilling experience for a young player making his way in the game, but his time on Merseyside was not without its challenges.

David Martin poses with his father, Alvin, after signing for West Ham David Martin poses with his father, Alvin, after signing for West Ham David Martin poses with his father, Alvin, after signing for West Ham

"It was probably the toughest time of my career, mentally," says Martin.

"I was originally signed as a reserves goalkeeper, but they didn't have a goalkeeping coach for the reserves at the time, so a lot of it was training with the outfield players in possession drills and games. It was probably a blessing in disguise because it taught me to get my first touch right, to get into the right body position. But the first 18 months were really tough."

Loan spells at Accrington Stanley, Leicester and Tranmere followed, but Martin's persistence did not waver. There were occasional first-team appearances on the bench back at Liverpool, and it wasn't long before his progress was noticed by Rafael Benitez's goalkeeping coach Xavi Valero, who he has since been reunited with at West Ham.

"I went on the pre-season tour to Hong Kong in 2009, just by default because they had brought in a Bulgarian goalkeeper who couldn't get a work permit," he says. "After that, Xavi told Rafa to keep me on as third choice. It was tough - the standard was incredible - but that season changed it all for me. It put me in good stead for the rest of my career."

2:10 Jamie Carragher discusses Declan Rice's best position on The Football Show Jamie Carragher discusses Declan Rice's best position on The Football Show

At the end of it, he returned to MK Dons on a permanent deal to become their No 1, staying there for seven seasons - "I loved my time at MK," he says - before joining Millwall in 2017. He made that move knowing he would be starting out as second choice - "a leap of faith," is how he describes it - but when he did finally get his chance near the end of last season, his performances were impressive enough to take him to West Ham.

Martin signed a two-year contract at the London Stadium in June, but once again he had to bide his time for an opportunity to play. When Lukasz Fabianski was sidelined by an injury in September, it was Roberto who initially got the nod. But the Spaniard's struggles soon opened the door for Martin to make his bow on that memorable night at Stamford Bridge, where his saves were vital in securing a 1-0 win.

"Obviously my dad and my family were there, but I had friends in the stands too," he says. "It's my club and to be in front of those supporters shouting my name pretty much all the way through the game gave me goosebumps. When the final whistle went, I just thought, 'I've done it. We've won. And I've not let anyone down'."

Martin views the Chelsea game as the standout moment of his career so far, but he took just as much satisfaction from his second clean sheet in the 1-0 win over Southampton at St Mary's Stadium two weeks later. "That meant a lot to me as well, keeping another clean sheet at a time when we were under pressure," he says.

6:36 West Ham manager David Moyes reveals his football firsts West Ham manager David Moyes reveals his football firsts

He is grateful to Manuel Pellegrini for giving him the chance.

"We played the Chelsea game on the Saturday and we were back in for training on the Sunday," he says. "I was on cloud nine. But when I was pulling my boots on to go out and train again, he sat down next to me and said, 'David, there's a saying in horse racing: any horse can win any race. The good horses win again and again'. It put the pressure back on me. I was always chasing that next clean sheet."

An unfortunately timed hip injury kept Martin out of West Ham's next few games. Fabianski has since returned to action and the club have also replaced Roberto with Darren Randolph to provide extra competition. But Martin remains an influential figure in the dressing room, his commitment and determination setting an example to the rest of the squad.

The goalkeeping line-up is not all that has at West Ham changed since Martin's last start. Pellegrini has been replaced by David Moyes and Randolph was not the only January signing. But Valero, who counts Real Madrid and Inter Milan among his former clubs as well as Liverpool, remains their goalkeeping coach and he has kept Martin busy during lockdown.

David Martin celebrates his second clean sheet against Southampton David Martin celebrates his second clean sheet against Southampton David Martin celebrates his second clean sheet against Southampton

"Xavi is probably one of the best goalkeeping coaches in the world, and I'm not just saying that," he says. "He has kept on top of us, giving us things we need to review and things to work on. It's hard to train on your own as a goalkeeper because you can't exactly fire shots at yourself, unless you're kicking a ball against a wall, which isn't exactly realistic.

"But a lot of goalkeeping these days is about footwork and positioning. You can keep that stuff up on your own and I feel fit and sharp in that respect. When we do go back into contact training, whenever that may be, it will be interesting to see what sort of effect that has. I feel ready for it because of the work we have been doing."

It is likely to be Fabianski who starts in goal when the Premier League returns and West Ham resume their battle against relegation. But Martin will be ready when called upon and nothing will dampen his enthusiasm.

"Even now, I have to pinch myself when I go into training and drive past the West Ham badge," he says. "It's still a surreal feeling and it means so much to me and my family. I just want to enjoy every second of it."

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Klopp: We would never endanger players

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 15:00
Jack Wilkinson

@jacktwilkinson

Reds boss speaks exclusively to Sky Sports about much-anticipated return to Melwood and how he is ensuring Liverpool will be ready to achieve their targets when season resumes

Last Updated: 20/05/20 3:15pm

8:58 Jurgen Klopp spoke to Geoff Shreeves following Liverpool's first training session back and said it felt good to be back Jurgen Klopp spoke to Geoff Shreeves following Liverpool's first training session back and said it felt good to be back

Jurgen Klopp has vowed not to endanger any Liverpool players and reiterated none of his squad will be forced to train against their will.

The Premier League leaders returned to training at Melwood for the first time in more than nine weeks on Wednesday as football began its tentative return following the coronavirus suspension.

The global pandemic has changed training methods as we know them though, with social distancing measures and widespread testing in force to safeguard players and staff.

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, Klopp explained how player safety at Liverpool's first sessions was of utmost importance and how the decision to return rests solely with each squad member.

"It is the players' choice and that is clear," Klopp said. "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.

Jurgen Klopp arrives at Melwood for Liverpool's first training sessions since the coronavirus suspension Jurgen Klopp arrives at Melwood for Liverpool's first training sessions since the coronavirus suspension Jurgen Klopp arrives at Melwood for Liverpool's first training sessions since the coronavirus suspension

"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."

Positive first impressions

Asked how it felt returning to Melwood and reuniting with his players, Klopp added: "Brilliant, I really enjoyed it. The weather is fantastic, and the boys are in good spirits.

"This morning we had to come already changed so I felt a bit like a policeman in my uniform - finally, for the right reasons again. That felt pretty special.

"Then coming to Melwood and seeing all the boys was nice. Before the session we had to give an introduction to make sure everything went in line. It was a short meeting and then a little bit more about the targets and then we started training. That was the best part for a while, really good.

1:58 Vinny O'Connor explains how Liverpool's training sessions will work as the club return back to training. Vinny O'Connor explains how Liverpool's training sessions will work as the club return back to training.

"The first 10 players were here, we have groups of five that train at the same time on different pitches obviously, far away from each other. It looked like football and that is what we want to do.

"For the boys, they had the longest break ever, around nine weeks. The international players usually have around two weeks in the summer, so we need to get used to a lot of things again. But the first impression was really positive."

'Targets still to be achieved'

Liverpool's relentless title challenge was halted with the Reds needing just six more points to secure their first top-flight crown in 30 years.

It remains unclear exactly when Liverpool will get the chance to resume their campaign, but Klopp insists the return to training is key in ensuring his players are ready to fulfil their targets whenever the opportunity arises.

1:30 Jamie Carragher says the Premier League will be hugely relieved with the low number of confirmed cases in its first round of coronavirus testing. Jamie Carragher says the Premier League will be hugely relieved with the low number of confirmed cases in its first round of coronavirus testing.

"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 explained.

"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."

0:33 Jurgen Klopp says he 'couldn't wait' to return to training, but insists Liverpool will need to be creative as they adapt to social distancing measures. Jurgen Klopp says he 'couldn't wait' to return to training, but insists Liverpool will need to be creative as they adapt to social distancing measures. 'Preparing for proper competition'

In addition to containing the spread of coronavirus, concerns remain over the physical demands placed on players following weeks in lockdown and how this may affect the Premier League's footballing product.

Klopp has dismissed such concerns though, insisting Liverpool will do everything in their power to prepare for what he expects to be a competition as competitive as usual.

"We will be in the best possible shape we can be," he said. "You know from pre-seasons, managers usually say, 'We don't know where exactly we stand at this moment, we need maybe one, two, three or four games to know more about our situation'.

1:19 After Premier League clubs were permitted to return to training on Tuesday, we sent our helicopter out to capture some players in action. After Premier League clubs were permitted to return to training on Tuesday, we sent our helicopter out to capture some players in action.

"But now, the challenge is that we all have to be ready for the first game, whenever it will be. That's interesting. Our game is, for different reasons, always different.

"You never have the same game again. You never have the same situation again. Everything can be perfect for a second, then you have injured players and you have to adapt to that.

"Now it's a situation we don't know. None of us know when we will start. The earlier they can tell us, the better it is, of course.

"But for all the teams, it's the same, and that's what makes a competition. If all the teams have the same circumstances, then you have a proper competition. That's what we are preparing for."

'I hope Neville gets some time off!' Gary Neville Speaking on The Football Show (April 17) Gary Neville Speaking on The Football Show (April 17) Gary Neville Speaking on The Football Show (April 17)

People have had more time on their hands during the lockdown and Klopp is no different, with the Reds boss admitting to tuning into some of Gary Neville's comments throughout the pandemic on The Football Show.

Klopp joked about Neville "having an opinion on everything" in one interview this week, and now he's looking forward to football's return giving the media something else to talk about.

Asked about his comments, he said: "I usually don't watch that kind of stuff. Now, in lockdown, I obviously had too much time and I watched a lot and read newspapers.

"I don't think it's [Gary Neville's] fault. If you get asked a lot of questions, you have to give a lot of answers. But I realised it in this time more than ever before!

"Hopefully we can fill the newspapers again in the future with some different stuff, and then he can have a bit more time off! I would wish it for him at least."

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Liverpool and Man Utd return to training

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 12:30
The Liverpool and Manchester United squads are training in small groups as a coronavirus precaution

Last Updated: 20/05/20 6:21pm

1:58 Vinny O'Connor has the latest from Melwood as Liverpool's squad return for training after the coronavirus lockdown Vinny O'Connor has the latest from Melwood as Liverpool's squad return for training after the coronavirus lockdown

Liverpool and Manchester United resumed group training on Wednesday as the Premier League moves a step closer to a return.

Premier League clubs were given the green light to begin 'phase one' training in small groups on Tuesday after testing revealed only six positive cases of coronavirus from 748 tests carried out on players and non-playing staff.

Chelsea, Newcastle and West Ham were among the clubs to return on Tuesday under strict social distancing measures, while Liverpool resumed group training at Melwood on Wednesday after manager Jurgen Klopp gave his backing to the Premier League's Project Restart.

Klopp was the first to arrive at the training ground to oversee the first session, which involved 10 Liverpool players - including Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, James Milner and Alisson.

Once the first session is completed, those 10 players will leave Melwood, with another group arriving later on to begin their own session.

Manchester United also returned to their base in Carrington on Wednesday, with Fred and Scott McTominay among the first set of players to arrive for training.

Watford are also expected to begin their 'phase one' training on Wednesday but will be without captain Troy Deeney, who says he will not return due to concerns for his son's health.

Manchester United relaxed over Ighalo 1:14 James Cooper has the latest from Manchester United's return to training and the future of striker Odion Ighalo James Cooper has the latest from Manchester United's return to training and the future of striker Odion Ighalo

Sky Sports News reporter James Cooper on the future of Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo

As far as Ighalo goes, I think there's a relaxed mood from Manchester United. The facts of the matter are that his contract comes to an end next Friday, on May 31.

There is a will from Manchester United to keep the player but I think, equally, Shanghai Shenhua would like the player back in China playing for them.

I think the relaxed attitude comes from the fact Marcus Rashford is now fit and there is less need for Ighalo but, all things being equal, United would like to keep him.

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Klopp: Time is right to resume training

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 19:00
"Nobody wants to bring anybody into danger, but I think with all the things we know about ... with testing as often as possible and stuff like this, the players will be safe."

Last Updated: 19/05/20 9:31pm

0:33 Klopp says he 'couldn't wait' to return to training, but insists Liverpool will need to be creative as they adapt to social distancing measures Klopp says he 'couldn't wait' to return to training, but insists Liverpool will need to be creative as they adapt to social distancing measures

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has backed the Premier League's plans for players to return to training this week.

Players are returning to training this week after the clubs voted unanimously to do so at a shareholders' meeting on Monday, the first significant step in the return-to-play protocols.

Officials are optimistic about the Premier League restarting in June - three months after football was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic - but there is an acknowledgment that plans may not be sufficiently advanced to ensure a return to action on June 12, as initially hoped.

The Premier League confirmed on Tuesday it had received six positive tests for coronavirus from three clubs after the first phase of mass testing. A total of 748 tests were carried out over the weekend.

2:26 Bryan Swanson confirms six individuals at three clubs of the 19 tested so far have produced positive coronavirus results Bryan Swanson confirms six individuals at three clubs of the 19 tested so far have produced positive coronavirus results

Some Premier League clubs resumed training in small groups on Tuesday and Klopp believes the timing is right.

"Nobody wants to bring anybody into danger, but I think with all the things we know about, sticking to the social distancing rule - especially in the first part - with testing as often as possible and stuff like this, the players will be safe," he told Liverpool's official website.

"Germany showed it already - a couple of players had a positive test during the long period, they trained for five weeks and now they play already, stuff like this and they had altogether 10 or 12 positive tests.

"I hope that we are now in England on the right side of the thing as well.

"It's all about when - but you need to re-open step by step different parts of life again. And everybody agrees about that, it's only about when.

"It's now a good moment to do it [in the Premier League]. Then other things, for sure, will follow."

1:19 After Premier League clubs were permitted to return to training on Tuesday, we sent our helicopter out to capture some players in action After Premier League clubs were permitted to return to training on Tuesday, we sent our helicopter out to capture some players in action

Klopp believes the Bundesliga - which resumed last weekend - has already shown that games will retain their usual intensity, even without fans in the stadiums.

"The perfect package of football is a full, packed Anfield stadium, two really good teams, big fight, super goals and at the end Liverpool win," Klopp said.

"So, a lot of these things are possible but Anfield will not be packed for a while. So that's what we have to accept, that's the only thing.

0:42 Aston Villa defender Matt Targett admits it felt strange to return to training under social distancing restrictions on Tuesday Aston Villa defender Matt Targett admits it felt strange to return to training under social distancing restrictions on Tuesday

"It looks like it will be possible - and it is in Germany already possible - to play behind closed doors.

"And the football games were really good; super goals, real fight, tight games, clear games, clear results, a proper fight. Imagine, the first night is a little bit like, 'Have a look here and there, how will it work, how does it feel?'

"But in Germany so many teams play for pretty much everything - they want to stay in the league - and that's exactly the same what will happen in England.

"When we start, it goes really again for everything. The competition will make the intensity."

0:55 Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher say they fully understand Watford captain Troy Deeney's decision not to return to training due to concerns for his son's health Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher say they fully understand Watford captain Troy Deeney's decision not to return to training due to concerns for his son's health

Klopp admits he was delighted when he was told he would be able to resume working with his players.

"I was over the moon, I would say," Klopp said. "I couldn't wait for a while now, so I am really happy that we are able to do this again - going back to Melwood, having small group training and stuff like this.

"I always said we don't want to rush anything, but I don't think it is rushed. It is for the first step, for this kind of social distancing training and we have five players.

"Everybody knows how big a football pitch is and there will probably be four players and a goalkeeper, or five players and a goalkeeper in a separate group on different days, that's possible as well but then you can imagine how much space they have to do what they have to do."

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PL confirms six positive tests across three clubs

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 17:35
Players or club staff to self-isolate for seven days; PL providing info for "purposes of competition integrity and transparency"

Last Updated: 19/05/20 9:11pm

2:26 Chief reporter Bryan Swanson reports on news the Premier League has confirmed six individuals at three clubs of the 19 tested so far have produced positive coronavirus results Chief reporter Bryan Swanson reports on news the Premier League has confirmed six individuals at three clubs of the 19 tested so far have produced positive coronavirus results

The Premier League has confirmed it has received six positive tests for coronavirus from three clubs after the first phase of mass testing.

A total of 748 tests have been carried out over the weekend and it is unclear whether they include players, non-playing staff or a combination of both.

Anyone who tests positive must now self-isolate for seven days and cannot attend the club training ground.

Clubs and individuals have not been disclosed by the Premier League for data protection reasons, and clubs are expected to take part in a second phase of testing later this week.

However, on Tuesday night Burnley identified one of the six individuals as their assistant manager Ian Woan and said he is currently asymptomatic and self-isolating at home.

The data released on Tuesday reflects 19 Premier League clubs, with the last club undergoing testing on Tuesday, and all figures will be included in the results of the second round of testing due to be published on Saturday.

1:19 After Premier League clubs were permitted to return to training on Tuesday, the Sky helicopter captured shots of some players in action After Premier League clubs were permitted to return to training on Tuesday, the Sky helicopter captured shots of some players in action

"The Premier League can today confirm that on Sunday, May 17 and Monday, May 18, 748 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19," a Premier League statement read on Tuesday.

"Of these, six have tested positive from three clubs. Players or club staff who have tested positive will now self-isolate for a period of seven days.

"The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency. No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League and results will be made public in this way after each round of testing."

Premier League clubs can now resume training in small groups while maintaining social distancing, following the release of the test results.

0:42 Aston Villa defender Matt Targett admits it felt strange to return to training under social distancing restrictions on Tuesday Aston Villa defender Matt Targett admits it felt strange to return to training under social distancing restrictions on Tuesday

Officials are optimistic about the Premier League restarting in June - some three months after football was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic - but there is an acknowledgment that plans may not be sufficiently advanced to ensure a return to action on June 12, as initially hoped.

The Premier League has also been warned current coronavirus restrictions are likely to be in place long-term, with Public Health England advising them the public health situation is unlikely to change in the next 6-12 months.

At Monday's 'Project Restart' meeting, the 20 clubs did not discuss the possibility of curtailing the season - like in Scotland - and continued talks over the issue of neutral venues.

'We need to wait for trends'

Analysis by Bryan Swanson, chief reporter, Sky Sports News

The fact there are six positive tests must be taken seriously.

Those individuals, whether players or non-playing staff, will have to self-isolate for seven days before they take a further COVID-19 test.

They cannot attend the training ground and three clubs will now want to establish what contact those individuals had with other people, in particular in the same household.

In theory, they should have not have come into close contact with anyone outside their household since March, under the government's social distancing rules.

3:41 Bryan Swanson talks to Avi Lasarow, the chief executive of Prenetics, who is coordinating at least 1,600 tests a week for Premier League clubs Bryan Swanson talks to Avi Lasarow, the chief executive of Prenetics, who is coordinating at least 1,600 tests a week for Premier League clubs

It is also important to highlight that more than 99 per cent of people have tested negative in the first round.

These figures, across 19 clubs, show that coronavirus is not widespread in Premier League clubs at the moment, at least not amongst the 40 people tested per club.

One club only carried out testing on Tuesday, and their data will be included in the next round of figures.

Up to 50 people from each club will be tested in each round going forward, twice a week, after a request by clubs, meaning up to 2,000 test results a week will be provided to the Premier League.

Prenetics, the company conducting the tests, has told Sky Sports News it can cope with increased demand.

The second round of test results are due to be published on Saturday before clubs hold talks next week about the potential return of contact training.

We need to wait for trends, using further rounds of results, before we can assess the significance of these figures and establish whether the authorities feel it is safe to resume competitive games next month.

Neville: PL players may reject training return 0:42 Gary Neville says he knows of Premier League clubs that have five or six players who are uncomfortable about returning Gary Neville says he knows of Premier League clubs that have five or six players who are uncomfortable about returning

Gary Neville has warned that more players may reject a return to Premier League training - but Jamie Carragher says he is increasingly confident that the league will resume this summer.

"I know there are Premier League clubs with five or six players who don't want to return or are uncomfortable with certain things around stage two or three," Neville told The Football Show.

"We do have more problems and issues to resolve over the coming weeks."

0:55 Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher say they fully understand Watford captain Troy Deeney's decision not to return to training due to concerns for his son's health Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher say they fully understand Watford captain Troy Deeney's decision not to return to training due to concerns for his son's health

The league voted unanimously on Monday to start 'small group' training with immediate effect.

But Carragher doesn't believe the reluctance of a small number of players to return to training is likely to derail plans to resume the Premier League season this summer.

He said: "We have always said on this show that if a player does not feel safe or sound to go back, he can't go back. This was always going to be the case that maybe one or two players in every squad may not feel safe and may not want to go back.

"I do not think that would stop the Premier League going on. If players en masse said they did not want to be involved, then that would be a big problem.

"But if one or two players in every club, that is something the clubs and Premier League will just have to accept and try and get them on board going forward."

Deeney tells Watford he will not return to training 0:39 Deeney has explained the reasons behind his decision to reject a return to training Deeney has explained the reasons behind his decision to reject a return to training

Watford captain Troy Deeney has said he will not return to training this week amid concerns for his own son's health, as well as that of BAME players.

"We're due back in this week. I've said I'm not going in. It's nothing to do with financial gain," Deeney said on Eddie Hearn and Tony Bellew's Talk The Talk podcast. "When I go into full detail about my personal situation, everyone here will go 'no problem'.

"My son is five months and he's had breathing difficulties. I don't want to come home and put him in more danger. You've got to drive in in your own kit, you can't have showers, then drive back in the same dirty kit you've got.

"If I'm putting my clothing in with my son's or my missus' it's more likely to be in the house."

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