Friday 20 April 2018

Klopp to curb WAGs training ground visits

New Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has already started making changes to the training methods at the club
New Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has already started making changes to the training methods at the club

Chris Bascombe

Jurgen Klopp has already put his stamp on Liverpool by imposing new rules restricting visits by wives and girlfriends to the club's training ground.

The German has informed his players they must see Melwood solely as their "headquarters of football", and not be a place where an assortment of hangers-on delivering the latest smartphones can stroll in or out on a whim.

Similarly, a culture of regular, routine days off during the working week is over. In the era of Gerard Houllier and Rafael Benitez a day off was to be earned - a reward for exceptional performances.

In those years back-to-back days off were a rarity. Klopp will restore that ethos. "We need to train for as often and for as long as it is possible," Klopp said.

Some Liverpool players have been more guilty than others when inviting their acquaintances to the training facility. There may be rare occasions when this is relaxed rather than serve as an outright ban, but it is evidently an issue that needed addressing. Klopp's perspective represents a shift, as does a more physically demanding training schedule.

The most obvious, visible alteration between now and the end of the season is Liverpool's players will look fitter and sharper, although Klopp was keen for the differences between his and predecessor Brendan Rodgers' approach to be put into context.

"My ideas are not better than Brendan's. They are different," said Klopp.

After all the hype, Klopp is as eager as anyone to get on with the football ahead of his first game in England at Tottenham today. Klopp's welcome has been both flattering and bewildering, the reputation he forged in Dortmund earning him instant respect but excessive adulation.

"We have to go to London, and show what we can do," he said. The message is he wants to earn admiration for what is to come, not what has been elsewhere.

Klopp is Liverpool's fantasy manager but now comes the reality. He has a unbalanced squad - weakened even more by injuries - and a group of players who have failed to justify a valuation of around £300million.

His first team selection will offer a glimpse into where he believes Rodgers was going wrong.

Klopp is confident some of his methods will immediately transfer from the training ground to the pitch, but there was also the first appeal for reason and patience.

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