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Man United, Liverpool return to training

Liverpool Players Return to the Training Ground Following Covid-19 Restrictions Being Relaxed

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 20: (THE SUN OUT. THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on May 20, 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Players from Man United and Liverpool returned to small-group training on Wednesday as players arrived in groups of five at separate times and that followed on from most clubs returning to the training pitch on Tuesday.

Small-group training sessions are only allowed to last for 75 minutes as the Premier League will monitor and inspect clubs throughout Phase One of the return to training protocol.

The bitter rivals both have plenty to play for as Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool sit 25 points clear atop the Premier League table and are just five points away from securing their first league title in over 30 years.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Virgil van Dijk, Georginio Wijnaldum, Alisson and James Milner were among the players to return to Liverpool’s Melwood training base as clubs have been splitting players up into groups across their vast training grounds.

As for Man United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, they will be keen to return to training as they had the momentum in the battle fo a top four spot before the season was suspended on March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba, Fred, Odion Ighalo, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood were spotted arriving at Man United’s Carrington training ground.

Clubs unanimously agreed to a return to small-group training from Tuesday, as players and club staff were tested on Sunday and Monday for COVID-19.

The Premier League have released a statement saying that 748 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19 on Sunday and Monday and six positive tests have been confirmed across three clubs.

Those clubs where positive tests have been confirmed will still be able to move forward with small-group training as individuals were tested over the past few days before groups returned to training bases. Those who have tested positive will self-isolate for seven days and their names will not be released.

Premier League CEO Richard Masters has said the possible restart date for games on June 12 is a flexible one and that plans for games to return can only happen as and when the league, clubs, players, the UK government and medical staff agree on how they can restart contact training in larger groups.

Next week is a key week for the Premier League ‘Project Restart’ plan as clubs are due to meet on Tuesday (May 26) to discuss a return to full contact training, then again on Thursday (May 28) to vote on whether or not to restart the season.

Phase One of the return to training protocol is now well under way and that means players and staff have to strictly adhere to social-distancing rules inside and outside of the training grounds. If they don’t, then the entire ‘Project Restart’ plan will fall down as more positive tests will be found and individuals will be forced to self-isolate for seven days at a time.

Below is a look at some of the scenes as stars from Man United and Liverpool returned to training grounds for Phase One on Wednesday.

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