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All back fit and raring to GO with By IAN DOYLE.

Byline: IAN DOYLE Chief LFC Writer ian,doyle@reachplc.com @IANDOYLESPORT

T may not have been quite as anyone would have expected little more than a few months ago, but Liverpool are back.

IJurgen Klopp's side returned to Melwood yesterday for the first time since March to begin the first phase of group training ahead of next month's expected resumption of the Premier League.

There were smiles all round as the likes of Mohamed Salah, Jordan Henderson and the rest of the squad were united at the training facility.

The session was, of course, different to usual, players working in smaller groups with social distancing observed wherever possible.

That will be the way until the next stage of the training protocol is introduced, building up towards a return to full contact training.

But there were some pointers that could be ascertained from the first session at Melwood.

Alisson is back Among the footage to emerge from yesterday was a short video of Alisson Becker being put through his paces.

Alisson, of course, hadn't featured in Liverpool's last three games before the suspension of the season, having injured his hip.

Two of those games were lost, costing the Reds their place in the FA Cup at Chelsea and ending their Champions League defence at home to Atletico Madrid.

The sight of the Brazilian showing no obvious lingering effects from that injury augur well for the nine remaining Premier League games.

Shaqiri and Keita are fitAlisson wasn't the only player absent through injury when the campaign was brought to a shuddering halt.

Naby Keita had missed out against Atletico while Xherdan Shaqiri, who has made just 10 appearances this season due to a series of problems, hasn't featured since January with a muscle problem.

Klopp, though, was upbeat when asked about the condition of his players, who have all been working on their fitness in isolation with both Keita and Shaqiri spotted taking part in Zoom yoga sessions earlier during lockdown.

"The boys are in good shape," said the Reds boss. "They are all fit and hopefully it stays like this, of course."

New looks all round If lockdown is proving a great leveller, then the evidence was there for all to see at Melwood - on the heads of Liverpool players.

With no hairdressers or barbers open, those not willing to let family members loose on their barnet were sporting some particularly lustrous locks.

Gini Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Curtis Jones were sporting particularly wild hairdos, while Jordan Henderson and in particular Alisson were sporting fulsome locks.

Not so Fabinho, however. No messing about from the Brazilian, whose number one all over remains unchanged.

Glad to be back While keen to get back to work, Liverpool also ensured they sent out the right message with ongoing social distancing.

Witness the video of Mohamed Salah going out of his way to avoid Klopp when moving on to a Melwood pitch.

The last word, though, goes to Dejan Lovren, who returned to Twitter this week and has expressed what almost certainly every Liverpool player is thinking.

"Great to be back at Melwood today in the sunshine and to begin team training in small groups again, felt like first day in the school," he said. "It's an important first step for us after a few weeks at home and the time away makes you really appreciate being back with the boys and the staff."

Lovren

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Dejan Lovren
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Author:IAN DOYLE Chief LFC Writer ian,doyle@reachplc.com @IANDOYLESPORT
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 21, 2020
Words:574
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