Liverpool hope to gain subtle advantage as Reds play 11v11 at Anfield ahead of Everton tie
Liverpool held an 11v11 short match in training at an empty Anfield on Monday.
Liverpool‘s first-team squad enjoyed an 11v11 friendly on a sun-soaked Anfield pitch on Monday afternoon as they ramped up their preparations for the Premier League’s restart in just over two weeks’ time.
Jurgen Klopp’s side played an end-to-end match with one side in the red home kit taking on their team-mates in the club’s black away strip.
While not a full 90 minutes, Klopp and co. put his players through their paces with the league set to resume on Wednesday June 17.
The Merseyside club are just six points away from winning their first league title since 1990 and could even be crowned English champions on their return on June 20.
That’s if Manchester City lose to Arsenal three days prior, which would leave Liverpool needing three points against their Merseyside rivals to clinch the league.
And with David Moyes’ West Ham having trained in full kit at their London Stadium home ground on Saturday, Liverpool followed suit on Monday.
The Athletic claim the club’s staff are looking to get their players used to playing in empty stadiums, with all 92 Premier League matches remaining of the current campaign to be held behind closed doors.
Sadio Mane and Naby Keita both scored as the team donning the Reds’ home jersey – boasting the likes of Jordan Henderson, Andy Robertson and Virgil van Dijk – came out on top.
While Gini Wijnaldum was present with his team-mates but sat in the Main Stand and watched on for the short 11v11 match due to what the club have described as a precautionary measure, the Dutchman presumably having felt a tweak while warming up.
Assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders told Liverpool’s official website: “It was an unbelievable feeling to be back at this iconic stadium
“Its our home. Anfield is basically the second-strongest connection we have, after our own homes.
“We had a training week full of intense sessions and to finish it off with Anfield was just great.
“We wanted to give the players the feeling of playing and competing without a crowd. We are just going step by step back to our way of playing, knowing that we have to work hard in training and be really committed to our principles to reach the same level that we had.
“Today was an important step in that direction; firstly getting familiar with the process around the games and secondly giving our squad playing time and competition very close to the environment that we will have in the future.”
The Liverpool boss, speaking to beIN SPORTS last week, revealed his hope that Anfield can play host to their remaining fixtures amid police concerns fans may congregate outside the stadium to celebrate their inevitable title triumph.
But Klopp admitted that in the grand scheme of things, it is not all that important where they play as he declared his desire for his charges to get the job done despite the odd circumstances.
He said: “The situation will change our celebrations obviously as well but the stadium, we didn’t hear that yet.
“I heard that there is still talk about it, Im pretty sure that we can solve the situation here as well in Liverpool.
“I heard a day ago a really good phrase about that we have the best home fans in the world, and now we need the best stay at home fans in the world. That’s how it is.
“We waited a while for this situation and its not done yet. If we had not stopped the league, or it would not have happened, the silly null and void stuff, then it was clear we were already champions.
“We wanted to play anyway and now we are really desperate to play because we want to become champions on the pitch that looks like that we can do that.
“Wherever it will be we dont know, we hope it will be at Anfield but we dont know and thats not important.
“Most of the people on this planet never have the chance to become champions of the Premier League. For us, it looks like we have the chance so we take it.
“Then there will be a moment in our life when we have time and the opportunity and its allowed to celebrate together then we will have a moment, and we will celebrate it in the right manner.
“Whenever that will be, but we decide how much we enjoy it then.”
Liverpool also took time out of their Anfield training session for a powerful show of solidarity to the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
All 29 players took a knee around the centre circle and posted the picture to social media with the caption: ‘Unity is strength. #BlackLivesMatter.”
Protests have been held across the United States and the world after Floyd, an unarmed black man, died while in police custody as white police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Despite Floyd begging for breath, Chauvin did not move even after the 46-year-old fell motionless as he pinned him down on the side of the road. Chauvin has been charged with Floyd’s murder.