We would never endanger players, says Klopp | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 22, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 22, 2020

We would never endanger players, says Klopp

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

Klopp's side were two wins away from ending a 30-year wait to win the title when the top-flight was shut down more than two months ago. Six positive cases of COVID-19 were detected in the PL''s first round of 748 tests of players and staff ahead of a return to socially distanced training.

Klopp reiterated his priority is health, but believes it is now safe for players to return to phase one of training.

"We would never put anybody in danger to do what we want to do. Yes, we love football, yes, it's our job, but it's not more important than our lives or the lives of other people," Klopp told Sky Sports. "In this case if you don't feel safe, you don't have to be here."

Germany's Bundesliga resumed its season behind closed doors last weekend, becoming the first major league to do so, but the Premier League's target of restarting on June 12 has been called into question by players' concerns. However, Klopp would welcome a start date.

"None of us know when we will start. The earlier they can tell us, the better it is, of course," he added. "We can't start today and then start playing tomorrow. That doesn't work. We need time to get match fit and that's what we are doing at the moment."

However, some players remain unconvinced. Newcastle and England defender Danny Rose argued players are being treated like "guinea pigs or lab rats".

Watford captain Troy Deeney has said he will not return to training this week over fears he could pass the virus onto his five-month-old son, with three of the six positive cases in the Premier League registered at the club.

Deeney's teammate Adrian Mariappa confirmed he had tested positive, the bemused defender saying: "It was a big surprise because I haven't really left the house, apart from some exercise and the odd walk with the kids."

Nevertheless, the British government's Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Oliver Dowden was optimistic players could move to the next stage of training.

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