LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 5, 2019: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Fitness programmes during Premier League suspension could be “pointless”

As with the majority of clubs, the Liverpool squad are currently training individually during the Premier League suspension, but these programmes may be “pointless.”

The Reds paused activity at Melwood on the announcement of a break for the Premier League last Friday, due to several coronavirus diagnoses among players and staff in the top flight.

No cases have been reported among Jurgen Klopp‘s squad or backroom so far, with the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum particularly busy on social media as they keep themselves entertained in isolation.

Beyond their Instagram accounts, however, they are also training at home, with head of fitness and conditioning Andreas Kornmayer providing bespoke programmes for every player.

It could be a difficult period for many without the dietary support provided at Melwood, with head of nutrition Mona Nemmer regularly praised for her impact on the club since joining from Bayern Munich in 2016.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, October 22, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salahand and Georginio Wijnaldum during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group E match between KRC Genk and Liverpool FC. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

According to The Athletic‘s James Pearce, the squad will not report back to the training ground for at least another fortnight, which would see them return a week before the scheduled trip to Man City on April 5.

Pearce cites club sources as admitting there is “little prospect of that fixture taking place,” however, with the postponement of the Euros to 2021 allowing more time for the domestic calendar to be fulfilled.

More will become clear after the Premier League‘s meeting on Thursday, but it is highly likely a longer break will be agreed, which could impact players’ fitness.

A report in the Mail has seen one staff member at a top-flight club describe this extended period of individual work as “pointless.”

“Each programme varies according to what equipment each player has access to at home,” the report explains, adding that “players who do not have the appropriate training equipment face a far more difficult task of staying fit.”

It even claims that “some players are completing high-intensity workouts available on YouTube to maintain their cardiovascular fitness,” with their source elaborating on the belief it is “pointless.”

“The players are elite athletes, they need to be pushed everyday,” they detail. “It’ll be a problem when the games start back up because players will have lost fitness and sharpness.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, September 16, 2019: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp speaks to his squad during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group E match between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC. (Pic by Laura Malkin/Propaganda)

This could be compared to players’ work at home and on holiday during the off-season, with pre-season typically requiring a week of fitness training before returning to ball work.

In his column for the Sunday Post, Sir Kenny Dalglish argued that “clubs will need at least 10 days’ notice so the coaching and fitness staff can prepare the players and give them a mini pre-season before they’re back playing again.”

But if, in theory, Liverpool do play Man City on April 5, this will not be the case; their programme will be expedited to ensure they get back up to speed as quickly as possible.

There is little doubting the professionalism of Klopp’s squad, and the qualifications of those tailoring their training routines, but there is no substitute for time at Melwood.

Whether it is “pointless” is certainly up for debate, but it would be no surprise to see players short of sharpness when the schedule does finally resume.