Jürgen Klopp believes the Premier League should avoid implementing a “circuit-breaker” shutdown designed to control the rising number of Covid-19 cases at clubs if at all possible.
“I think the competition can go on,” said Liverpool’s manager, presumably mindful of the severe fixture congestion that would be an inevitable consequence of such a suspension. “And it’s also important it goes on. People want to watch it and, in this case, we are not part of society.
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“We go to the training ground and stuff like that but usually we isolate. We try to do everything to keep the boys as safe as possible so I think we really can carry on. We all try to do our best to keep the competition going. I think it works well for everybody but I’m not a [medical] specialist and I will respect all the decisions made in the next few weeks.”
The realist in Klopp always expected an increase in coronavirus within clubs at this time of year. “We knew before the winter there would probably be a second wave,” he said. “It’s a challenge when it is about self-isolation so I am not surprised that the numbers have gone up slightly in football.”
Klopp has counselled patience regarding Virgil van Dijk’s return from anterior cruciate ligament surgery. The centre-half is in Dubai undergoing rehabilitation work following surgery in October and the club have sent a physiotherapist to the United Arab Emirates to work one-to-one with him.
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Van Dijk has recently posted videos from his exercise bike in the gym, demonstrating he has reached the milestone of being able to bend his knee again, but Klopp cautioned that a return to playing remains a long-term aim. “Progress is good but there’s still a long way to go. I can be happy when I see these videos because it shows we make good progress but, with this type of injury, it will still take a lot of time. I would like to say something else but these are the facts.”