Andy Robertson is relishing the chance to reconnect with his teammates at Melwood and take steps towards a return to competitive football.

Liverpool have been conducting training sessions in small groups at staggered times since last Wednesday, observing the necessary social distancing guidelines.

The Premier League has now unanimously approved the resumption of contact training, which it says marks “another step towards restarting the season, when safe to do so”.

In our latest interview via video link from Melwood, we caught up with Robertson to discuss the Reds’ return to training and the prospect of playing again in the future, with six points still required to guarantee top spot in the division.

Read the chat below…

On the best thing about being back at Melwood…

The best thing about being back is seeing the lads and the staff, although it’s in small groups. Being back at Melwood; I’ve always said Melwood is kind of your home from home, you spend so much time here, and we missed the place like mad. We wanted to get back on the pitch and play football, and luckily that’s been able to happen. There have been many things we’ve missed and many things we can start to smile about because we’re back at work – one is seeing all the people we’ve been so close to for the last couple of years, being able to see them again and have talks with them. Being able to get the balls out is amazing. It’s not quite the same in your kit in your back garden, so it’s always nice to be back here. Hopefully we can start moving forward and get closer to that first Premier League game again.

On being around his teammates again…

WhatsApp calls and Zoom calls and all that are great with the lads, but it’s not the same as seeing them in person. That’s something the club did really well when we were off, we made sure we kept in contact with each other a lot, we made sure we were all in a big WhatsApp group where we could talk things through, and we were all on Zoom calls – I think it was every three days and you could see each other. But the first day back at Melwood it was like a kid leaving school for holidays probably, to be honest. I bounced out the front door; it’s probably the first time I’ve smiled at home about football in a while. I couldn’t wait to get in and I’m sure all the lads were like that. Everyone was talking in their cars in the car park from a distance on the first day. It was just nice to catch up. This is the new normal, we need to get used to the protocols we’re following but it’s something I think we’ve all got used to quite quickly. Being able to see the lads and being able to be in this training ground again most days, it’s a special place and we like being here.

On the squad sticking together during the period of training at home…

We went through it all together. From the very start the staff in the WhatsApp group were saying if anyone is struggling with anything, put it in here because if you’re struggling with something, someone else might be struggling with the exact same thing and we can all get to somewhere better. We were good at that. We had ‘a year ago today’ and everything that was going on at the time, it was an exciting time last year when we were going through that. There were maybe a couple of more emotional days where people were putting things in the group. But these are the things that happen, we all went through it together. We’re all hopefully stronger for it, it will bring us even closer in a very close group. We helped each other through it. Now we want to get back to it, we want to get back to business when it’s safe to do so of course. We believe we’ve followed each protocol so far and hopefully we can move on to phase two very soon. Then, hopefully, the games can follow soon because I love playing games with these lads, I love being out there battling for a Premier League title and that’s what we want to get back to.

On the variety of hairstyles and haircuts on show among his teammates…

I think Mrs Milner has pulled off an absolute worldie with that one, to be honest! I think it took him about five or six weeks to put his trust in her, but I think he should have done it beforehand, to be honest – she’s done a good job. My missus had a go on mine; I told her not to touch the top, just to do the sides. She did an OK job, it’s growing in a bit better, so I think I’ve gone under the radar a wee bit. I’m quite proud of her for that, to be honest!

There are a couple of questionable ones: Alisson’s just keeps growing and growing, I don’t know what state that is going to be in when we get back playing! Bobby’s is interesting, usually he’s quite sharp but he’s kind of let it go a wee bit rogue, Joe Gomez’s is really bushy on top. Lallana just took the hit, didn’t he? He just shaved it all off, so I think we’ve gotten used to Adz having no hair now. That’s what happens, isn’t it? You have to adapt to these situations – and unfortunately sometimes you have to put trust in people who don’t have a clue what they’re doing! That’s what we’ve all done – some of us don’t trust their household members [with it] as much as some of us have. But hopefully Bobby can get back to his fresh haircut soon.

On working towards a return to matches and Liverpool requiring two wins to clinch the title…

For me, that’s what I try to keep in my head. We’re so used to competing – and we’ve not competed in a very long time. Obviously the last game we did compete in, we fell short. That was tough to take, but now we want to get back to it, we want to get back to competing. It’s been 30 long years for this club and the fans probably couldn’t have imagined we’d have to wait nine weeks when we were so close to going into games where we hopefully could have won to seal the Premier League title. But we’ll get back to it, we’ll get going again, we’ll get our rhythm again and hopefully we can win the games we need to win and that’s what our aim is now.

The light at the end of the tunnel was just getting back into training, to be honest. At times, there were some days you didn’t think that would have been possible, but now we’re back here, we can look forward and look to the next step. Then, like I said, hopefully with the games we’ve got ahead of us, we can get back to it. Would we like to play in front of 55,000 people at Anfield? Of course we would. Winning games or whatever without the fans won’t feel the same, but it’s something we know we need to go through and it’s something we know that in their houses and stuff they will be supporting us like mad and we’ll feel that support.

Hopefully we can celebrate a title if we get the job done – and there will be time to celebrate it when the time is right. But for now we need to keep focused, we know whatever games are coming up and whenever they start, we need to get them won and get that trophy for this club.

Jürgen Klopp of Liverpool FC

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