Liverpool loanee Nat Phillips has detailed the return-to-play protocol for clubs in Germany, with the centre-back poised for action with Stuttgart on Sunday.
The Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga are back this weekend, with Phillips likely to start for Stuttgart as they visit SV Wehen Wiesbaden in the second tier.
Germany are considered to be laying out the blueprint for other countries when it comes to the resumption of football in the coronavirus pandemic, with clubs having already reported back for limited training in the first week of April.
Now up to speed, they are now preparing for fixtures under strict conditions, as Phillips explained in an interview with LFCTV.
The 23-year-old revealed that squads are now isolated in hotels, “so there’s no contact with anybody outside of the football club,” with regular testing including temperature checks every morning.
“It’s just to training in the morning, straight back to the hotel—the same thing every day for the week building up to this first game,” he detailed.
“Even still, we’re getting our temperatures checked every morning. I think I’ve had three or four coronavirus tests already, I think they’re done roughly two or three times a week.
“And the same thing, where you can you maintain your distance. I’m car-sharing with a player so we’ve got to wear masks in the car on the way into training when we’re in that together.
“So even though we are having contact and training as a big group, still where we can we are still taking those precautions.”
Similar measures are likely to be rolled out across the Premier League in the near future, with team training expected to begin again on May 18 ahead of a possible return to play from June 12.
Clubs across the English top flight are reportedly opposed to games being held in neutral venues, and could therefore follow Germany in maintaining home-and-away fixtures, behind closed doors, while players are quarantined in hotels.
This remains a way off for Liverpool yet, and Phillips’ explanation of the early days back in training could provide a closer insight into how things will move ahead shortly.
“When we first went back, it was small groups so we’d arrive at 15 or 20-minute intervals with three or four of the players that you were training with; standard social distancing, maintaining two metres apart even around training,” he continued.
“We all got our own parts of the dressing rooms, so there was only ever four or five players in one dressing room at a time.
“The sessions, there was no contact, it was mostly technical work, whereby you wouldn’t be coming into close contact with each other at any point during the training. And standard hygiene as well.
“We had our temperature checked every morning as we arrived at the training facility. You took your kit home, and drove to and from training in your kit.
“So you didn’t spend much time at the ground and when you did you still maintained distance from each other, even on the training pitch.”
Phillips believes Stuttgart have “fared alright” in getting back up to speed following a spell of training at home, adding that “when we were training in small groups it was far more enjoyable and beneficial than just doing individual running.”
This is likely to be a feeling shared by players across the sport, as individual programmes are unable to replicate the demands of team training—and being able to do so while avoiding risk whenever possible is encouraging.
Stuttgart are currently second in 2.Bundesliga, six points behind leaders Bielefeld but only one ahead of Hamburg, as they sit in the automatic promotion spot with nine games left to play.