In photos: All smiles as Liverpool report back to Melwood for first day of training

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The Liverpool squad are back at Melwood for the first day of group training amid the season’s break, with the Reds all smiles as they were pictured on their return.

With the Premier League voting for the resumption of non-contact training earlier in the week, and only six of 748 tests on players and staff returning positive, Wednesday was a big day.

After initially closing the facility on March 13, in the wake of the Premier League‘s suspension, the Reds’ home has largely remained dormant for the past two months.

Players had been able to use the training ground for individual sessions, while testing took place in a drive-through tent earlier in the week, but the squad had been left to interact predominantly on WhatsApp and Zoom.

This changed, to some extent, with the first session back, as groups of five were put through their paces as Jurgen Klopp bids to restore momentum in the title hunt.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, May 20, 2020: Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' leaves the club's Melwood Training Ground as the players return to training ahead of a planned restart of the Premier League during the Coronavirus pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The likes of Alisson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner, Fabinho, Gini Wijnaldum and Virgil van Dijk were pictured driving into Melwood on Wednesday morning.

With the LFCTV cameras ready in waiting, both Wijnaldum and Van Dijk were clearly happy to head back to work after a long spell in lockdown.

Klopp and Pepijn Lijnders were among the first in, with the manager confident his players will not be lacking in intensity if the Premier League resumes without fans next month as expected.

“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,” he said on Tuesday.

“But Anfield will not be packed for a while, so that’s what we have to accept. When we start, it goes really again for everything. The competition will make the intensity.”

Melwood has been set up to ensure contact with others is kept to a minimum, with staff required to wear masks as part of extensive safety measures implemented at the training ground.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, May 20, 2020: A member of Liverpool's staff arrives at the club's Melwood Training Ground as the players return to training ahead of a planned restart of the Premier League during the Coronavirus pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Temporary facilities such as toilets and showers have been constructed near the training pitches, while a one-way system has been laid out, with physio Jose Luis Rodriguez describing it as “like in airports.”

The focus at this stage will be on fitness and technical work, with players unable to take part in contact sessions such as small-sided games or set-piece routines.

This is a small step towards returning to action, as seen with the Bundesliga’s restart last weekend, and is a major positive after such a long spell without football.

“A lot of players in small groups means a lot of sessions, but we’ve had enough time to rest so we will be fine,” Klopp said.

“From a physical point of view, the boys are in a good shape, I think. Then we have to start getting used to the pitch, football boots and balls again.

“For the body that’s a big challenge because these little turns and stuff like this, these football-specific things, they make all the difference.”

It remains to be seen if every player has returned to training on Wednesday, with question marks over the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Nathaniel Clyne, but the bulk of the squad were back as the sun shone.

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