Phil Coles lauded Liverpool's "unbelievable" physicality as Jurgen Klopp's high-octane European champions dominate English football.

Klopp's 'heavy metal' football has transformed Anfield, the charismatic German helping to restore the glory days after last season's Champions League triumph.

Liverpool were also on track to win their first league title since 1990 prior to the coronavirus pandemic – the Reds were 25 points clear atop the Premier League table through 29 matches.

Klopp has overhauled Liverpool's style of football since replacing Brendan Rodgers in 2015 – his Gegenpressing philosophy restoring the club's position among the world's elite clubs.

Coles is no stranger to Liverpool's inner sanctum, having previously worked as the team's head of physical therapy under former bosses Rodgers, Kenny Dalglish and Roy Hodgson between 2010 and 2012.

So what does the Australian – who now works as executive director of performance at NBA franchise the Boston Celtics – think about Klopp's high-flying Reds?

"Looking from the outside, and I don't have any special data or information on anything they've done, but they do look incredibly good physically," Coles told Stats Perform News.

"The style Klopp plays with the press and counter-attack – it expends a lot of energy. The way the full-backs play is incredible, with the engines they have. Both full-backs getting up and down.

"So, they are clearly a physically gifted side and you would have to credit the approach of the club as a whole to giving that to them.

"Partly that can be in the recruitment of players who will fit in the style that Klopp wants. Partly it's gonna have to do with the coaching and the way he structures his sessions that are going to allow them to achieve what they need.

"And partly it's no doubt due to the performance staff there, who are clearly doing a fantastic job to get those guys at the level they're playing. Not only are they playing unbelievably good football and I think personally, if the season was to stop now, they should be crowned champions because they are clearly the dominant side and certainly deserve it.

"It's not just how good they are playing but the physicality of how they play is unbelievable. The performance staff have clearly done a fantastic job but I think it's a club-wide approach, to achieve the success they've had, everyone has to be contributing – from the players they recruit, to how the coach sets up and runs practice sessions, to how the performance staff contribute.

"All of those things have to be in sync to be at the level that they're at, both physically and functionally for how well they're playing."

Former Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper and current Australia international Mitch Langerak recently provided an insight into Klopp's relentless methods during his time at Signal Iduna Park.

Langerak told Stats Perform News: "He's full power… For example, when I first arrived [in 2010], I didn't know what a training camp was because I hadn't been on one with Melbourne Victory. We turned up and my agents were saying 'oh wait for the training camp, wait for the training camp'. I'm like what's with the training camp? I thought we'd just go and do a bit of training. We were doing three sessions a day, then the next day we'd have a double, then the next day we'd have training in the morning, a 'friendly' game at 4pm that afternoon but a friendly game with Dortmund is in front of 30,000 people.

"The next day you'd have a double, a triple. So you're up at 7 in the morning. You'd do lactate testing, so they would know if you're in the fast group of five players or next group. You'd do 5km or 6km in 1km time-trials and you just have to keep your pace. The boys would be blowing, they'd be wrecked. That was at 7am in the morning before breakfast. You'd go back to the hotel, have a quick bite to eat, you'd get showered and changed and then you'd go training. You'd do a proper, proper training session. Go back, have lunch, maybe sleep for an hour and you're back at 4pm for the third session of the day. This is day one of training camp, Day two could be a double, day three is training and then at 4pm a friendly game in a stadium live on TV in front of 30-40,000 people.

"It's actually so nuts but it wasn't like 'oh he needs to have a rest today, he's 32, he's coming back from injury so he needs to have a light one today'. It was none of that, if you train, you train. That was the biggest thing for me. It was just like, obviously after seven days of training you're a bit sore, bit tight maybe we should have an easy session. Nah, you learn to just get on with things and grind it out.

"Some of the training sessions were intense but then when he could see the players getting tired, he was like 'that's it we're finished for today, come back tomorrow and we'll smash it again'. I think that with a lot of young, hungry players it worked really well. He was obviously the alpha, the boss. You can see that within the whole club – he was the one in charge and everyone had so much respect for him."

The United Kingdom government has given Premier League teams the green light for "close-contact" and "competitive" training amid the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 forced the 2019-20 Premier League season to be postponed in March, but officials are eyeing a mid-June restart following a tentative return to training.

Clubs returned to training in small groups last week amid social-distancing measures after the UK government published its phase one guidance on May 13.

The government released phase two of its guidance for athletes and elite sportsmen on Monday as the Premier Leagues eyes a return to action next month following the Bundesliga's resumption earlier in May.

"Stage Two training can be described as the resumption of close-contact [interaction within the two-metre social-distancing boundary] training where pairs, small groups and/or teams will be able to interact in much closer contact [e.g. close quarters coaching, combat sports sparring, teams sports tackling, technical equipment sharing, etc]," the guidance read.

"The progression of training into Stage Two is vital to prepare fully for the return of competitive sporting fixtures in many sports. Close-contact training is required to replicate match formations and conditions, so that the sport-specific demands can be placed on the body, mind and senses. Close-contact training develops the sport-specific fitness which is an essential element for player safety and a reduced risk of injury during competition.

"It is anticipated that engaging in this type of training would start with smaller 'clusters' of 2-3 athletes and eventually progress to larger groups of 4-12 athletes, and ultimately full-team training, without social distancing possible at all times. Under Stage Two conditions, as per Stage One, social distancing will continue to be the expectation at all other times aside from technical training."

UK sports minister Nigel Huddleston said: "This new guidance marks the latest phase of a carefully phased return to training process for elite athletes, designed to limit the risk of injury and protect the health and safety of all involved. We are absolutely clear that individual sports must review whether they have the appropriate carefully controlled medical conditions in place before they can proceed, and secure the confidence of athletes, coaches and support staff.

"Given the wide ranging input we have received from medical experts, we believe these pragmatic measures should provide further reassurance that a safe, competitive training environment can be delivered, as we work towards a restart of professional sport behind closed doors when it is safe to do so."

Liverpool were 25 points clear atop the Premier League through 29 matches when the season came to a halt.

Melbourne Storm chairman Matt Tripp said the club are keen to be a "test case" for crowds to return to the NRL amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 NRL season will resume on Thursday and Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V'landys is hoping capped crowds can return to the league as soon as July.

As the NRL eyes fans returning to stadiums after the campaign was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 crisis, Tripp revealed the Storm are planning for a restricted number of supporters to watch games at AAMI Park in Melbourne.

"We are piecing together a scenario where even if we start with 1,000 people and build to 2,000, 3,000 in every fifth seat, there are plans in place at the moment or plans that we are working through to try and get people to AAMI Park, to create a safe environment for bigger and better things for all codes, not just the NRL," Tripp told RSN's Breakfast Club on Monday.

"We would happily be the test case, it's a wonderful facility to get people in and out of.

"There are measures that we can put in place to ensure the safety of patrons when they're at the game so I can't see why, in line with Peter V'landys' comments on July 1 that we can't get the ball rolling at AAMI."

The Storm were among six teams to have won their opening two games before the NRL was suspended due to coronavirus.

Craig Bellamy's Storm will restart their season against Canberra Raiders behind closed doors in Melbourne on Saturday.

"It would be wonderful if we can get people back to games this year," Tripp added.

Timo Werner could have scored even more goals for RB Leipzig against Mainz, according to head coach Julian Nagelsmann.

Werner netted a hat-trick as RB Leipzig climbed back into third in the Bundesliga with a 5-0 win on Sunday.

Linked heavily with a move to Liverpool, Werner became the first Bundesliga player to score two hat-tricks against the same opponent in a single season in 21 years.

But Nagelsmann felt the prolific forward could have netted even more for his side.

"I think we were also ready the last game for games without fans. I think we were well-focused in the last game too," he told a news conference.

"We just didn't have so many chances and didn't score so many goals like today. We started off pretty well and built pressure, I think it's a well-deserved victory.

"We had even more chances to score. I think even Timo Werner could have scored more goals.

"But especially his development after the Freiburg game is very interesting. He kept the ball really well, performed well. He had a good game."

Werner has scored 30 goals in 38 games in all competitions for RB Leipzig this season, including 24 in the Bundesliga.

Andrew Bogut quit NBL franchise the Sydney Kings, but the veteran NBA champion is not retiring from basketball just yet.

Bogut announced his exit from the Kings via social media on Monday amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 35-year-old, who won an NBA title with the Golden State Warriors in 2015, had been planning to retire after playing for Australia at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

But those plans were put on hold following the decision to push back the Olympics 12 months due to the COVID-19 crisis.

"I have decided not to sign with the Sydney Kings, or any professional sporting team for that matter for the time being," Bogut wrote in a statement via Twitter.

"With everything going on in the world, the future does not look too clear, most notably in regards to sporting leagues worldwide.

"This is by no means a retirement note, but simply saying any concrete decisions are too hard to be made at this point in time.

"The reason I have decided to do this now is to give the Sydney Kings enough notice to act accordingly with free agency being around the corner."

The number one pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, former Milwaukee Bucks, Dallas Mavericks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers centre Bogut returned to Australia with the Kings in 2018.

Bogut was named the NBL's MVP in his first season, while he helped the Kings reach the Grand Final this year, though the Perth Wildcats were crowned champions after the series was cut short due to coronavirus.

"I have enjoyed being home with the family and learning more about my kids than I ever could have previously," Bogut, who returned to the Warriors to play the remainder of the 2018-19 season, said.

"My body is enjoying the break after playing basketball for 19 straight months and I hope to be back out on the basketball court in the near future!

"The plan moving forward? Spending time with my wife and kids, slowly getting back into physical shape, and finally making the most out of time we don't traditionally get at home."

Charles Leclerc played down suggestions he would become Ferrari's number one driver when Carlos Sainz Jr. arrives next year.

Leclerc impressed in his first season with Ferrari last year, finishing fourth in the drivers' championship.

The 22-year-old has extended his contract with the team until 2024, and next year will have a new team-mate when Sainz arrives from McLaren to replace Sebastian Vettel.

Leclerc was full of praise for Sainz, who finished sixth in the drivers' championship last year.

"I do not become number one," he told L'Equipe on Sunday.

"I think Carlos is a great driver and he will show it. It is obvious to everyone already. For me, it will be a great challenge."

Leclerc also paid tribute to Vettel, who will leave Ferrari at the end of the year with his future uncertain.

"He taught me a lot of things, that's true," he said. "I'm happy to have had him as a partner because he is a very experienced pilot."

Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning earned bragging rights against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in "The Match", but charity was the real winner.

It was an all-star cast for The Match: Champions for Charity – arranged to raise funds for coronavirus relief efforts – as 15-time major champion Woods teamed up with two-time Super Bowl winner Manning.

Woods and Manning secured a 1up victory over Mickelson and six-time Super Bowl champion Brady in Hobe Sound, Florida on Sunday.

Mickelson and Brady made a late surge on the back nine, but Woods and Manning held on at Medalist Golf Club, where social distancing was front and centre.

More importantly, over $20million was raised to help with COVID-19 relief amid the pandemic, which has wreaked havoc globally.

Bad weather delayed the charity contest by 45 minutes but there was plenty of fun and entertainment once the players teed off, with PGA Tour star Justin Thomas and NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley headlining the broadcast.

The star quartet exchanged banter, while Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Brady struggled early.

Brady did not look like the NFL's G.O.A.T with a golf club in hand, until holing out for birdie from the fairway at the par-four fifth hole in South Florida.

Team Brady and Mickelson rallied, however, the Woods-Manning pairing were not to be denied.

"It's great, the fact that we all came together and we were able to raise $20million for those that have been so severely affected," said Woods, with the PGA Tour planning to return next month after golf was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 crisis. "This is our arena. This is what we do. We couldn't imagine going out onto the field and doing what they do."

Former NFL quarterback Manning said: "I know Tom and I were kind of comparing notes and feelings to each other. To go behind the ropes in these guys' world and kind of be in the arena with them, it was a really special experience. I was not comfortable the entire time, from the first tee all the way down here."

Mickelson – a five-time major winner – added: "We fought hard. I was a little nervous, a little tight on the front nine. My man kept us in there, and the back nine he really shined. We made a run and came really close."

Italy's minister for sport Vincenzo Spadafora said the Serie A season could resume on "June 13 or 20" following the coronavirus outbreak.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc globally, with the Serie A campaign suspended in March due to the pandemic.

A decision on the season is expected on Thursday as Serie A looks to follow in the footsteps of Germany's Bundesliga, which resumed on May 15.

"We are working on two possible dates to begin Serie A games, on June 13 or 20," Spadafora told Rai TG3.

"The protocol arrived for resuming the season and it is very similar to the one that was agreed for training. On Thursday, we'll decide if and when to resume."

Defending champions Juventus were a point clear of Lazio through 26 games when the league was halted.

"This emergency has shown some critical issues in the world of football that we will face in a general reform that will happen before the end of the summer," Spadafora said.

"Among those issues we include allowing women's football players to become professional athletes."

Italian Footballers' Association (AIC) president Damiano Tommasi insisted players were happy to return to action amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A decision on the Serie A season is expected on Thursday, with the campaign having been suspended since March due to COVID-19.

While raising numerous issues, Tommasi said the players wanted to play if it is safe to do so.

"If the conditions are met, the players are happy to start again," he told Sky Sport on Sunday.

"Criticising does not mean being against the recovery. Temperatures, travel and more – the critical issues are there and we highlight them.

"But the desire is to play in the best possible way anyway."

The Bundesliga has restarted and LaLiga and the Premier League are bidding to do the same, with Ligue 1 the only one of Europe's top five leagues to be cancelled.

Juventus held a one-point lead over Lazio when the Serie A season was suspended.

Is there anything Tom Brady cannot do?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar and six-time NFL Super Bowl champion holed out from the fairway in "The Match" on Sunday.

Featuring in the all-star charity contest – arranged to raise funds for coronavirus relief efforts – alongside Phil Mickelson, Brady had struggled with the golf club against Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning.

Brady, who swapped the New England Patriots for the Buccaneers via free agency in the offseason, is regarded as the greatest NFL player of all time but he looked human at Medalist Golf Club.

That was until Brady produced an unforgettable moment of magic – holing out for birdie from 100 yards at the par-four fifth hole in Hobe Sound, Florida.

Reigning Super Bowl MVP and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, like many others, was left stunned.

"You got to be kidding!!!!! #TheMatch2," Mahomes wrote on Twitter.

Simone Inzaghi is eager to restart the Serie A season amid the coronavirus pandemic after his Lazio side's "extraordinary" progress.

Lazio were just a point behind leaders Juventus, with both having played 26 games, when the campaign was suspended in March due to COVID-19.

Inzaghi hopes the season can get back underway, with a decision set to be made on Thursday.

"We are happy to start again. It is the wish that we finish the championship in favour of all the people who work in football and for the fans," the Lazio head coach told Rai 2 on Sunday.

"The prerequisites are there. We coaches have all felt we want to start again safely.

"Regardless of the ranking, before the pandemic we were doing something extraordinary."

The Bundesliga is the only one of Europe's top five leagues to restart, while LaLiga is set to resume next month, Ligue 1 has been cancelled and the Premier League is also bidding to get back underway.

Inzaghi is hopeful over Serie A, even if a positive case of coronavirus is found at a club.

"In our sports centres, we are in total safety, there are distances, we are checked every day. From tomorrow, we will return to group training," he said.

"There is a desire to start again. A positive in the team? I don't know, it hasn't happened yet. We are waiting for the protocol to understand what to do.

"As Germany did, we hope to start again. Once a case is found, the subject will be isolated and the game should be played back at least a week later."

LaLiga president Javier Tebas was left "concerned" after Sevilla players were found to have broken lockdown rules by having a social gathering on Saturday.

Ever Banega, Lucas Ocampos, Franco Vazquez and Luuk de Jong were seen congregating in a group of around 12 people in a since-deleted Instagram post uploaded by Banega's partner.

There is a maximum of 10 people permitted at gatherings in Seville, which remains in the early stages of Spain's easing of lockdown measures – though it is set to become the largest city to enter phase two on Monday.

All four players issued public apologies on Sunday, with Vazquez acknowledging they had "failed everyone" with their actions.

Tebas, who in the same interview confirmed LaLiga plans to resume on June 11 with Sevilla against Real Betis, stressed that those involved did express regret, but he felt it necessary to again remind footballers of their responsibilities.

 

"I am going to emphasise that the players have repented, which is positive," he said on Partidazo. "The players are an example for society and they must be careful with what they do.

"I appeal to all footballers; you cannot have this attitude. You have to be very careful because we jeopardise many jobs.

"At that gathering there could have been an asymptomatic [person with COVID-19], and it seemed that everyone smoked from a shisha pipe.

"You have to be responsible for everything you do. Security is total on the pitches where they train and in games, but I am concerned about these places and these meetings. We have to be very cautious."

Spain has had almost 283,000 confirmed cases of the virus and 28,752 deaths – only the United States, United Kingdom and Italy have reported more fatalities.

However, the daily death toll on Saturday was just 50.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas is hoping to resume the 2019-20 season on Thursday, June 11 with the Seville derby.

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed on Saturday that LaLiga had been given permission to resume behind closed doors from June 8 following the coronavirus-enforced hiatus.

Previous reports had suggested the first match would be played on June 12, exactly three months after the suspension started, with Sevilla's home match against bitter rivals Real Betis said to be the chosen match.

And while Tebas confirmed the derby to be his desired fixture, he revealed on Sunday that he is hoping to resume a day earlier, with kick-off to be set at 22:00 local time due to the intense heat in Andalusia's capital.

Speaking on the Partidazo show, Tebas said: "There is the possibility that there will be a match on the 11th [of June], which would be a unique match, with a possible tribute for all the deceased.

"I wish that date could be confirmed. We would like it to be the Seville derby, at 10 at night.

"Our idea is to be able to confirm the [dates for the] first four matchdays this [coming] week.

"The hours will depend on where the game is played, it will always be taken into account. During the week, the schedules will be late. On weekends, there will be three schedules."

Despite Tebas revealing his plan, confirmation of the exact resumption date is to be announced in due course.

Lockdown measures in Spain have been eased gradually over the past few weeks after it was hit particularly badly by the COVID-19 pandemic.

There have been almost 283,000 confirmed cases of the virus in Spain and 28,752 deaths – only the United States, United Kingdom and Italy recorded more fatalities.

Peyton Manning went one up on Tom Brady with quick-witted jibes before the first tee shot was struck ahead of "The Match".

The start of the all-star charity contest – arranged to raise funds for COVID-19 relief efforts – in which Manning has teamed up with Tiger Woods to face Brady and Phil Mickelson was delayed due to the wet weather in South Florida on Sunday.

When the quartet took to the range it was Manning who fired an early blow when asked who his caddie might have been if the quartet had someone to carry their bags at Medalist Golf Club.

With Tampa Bay Buccaneers new boy Brady in earshot lining up a practice shot, Manning replied to a reporter: "Do you bring Eli [Manning, his brother]? Could do that.

"Do you bring Nick Foles? Maybe."

Brady turned out and replied: "That's a cheap shot."

Manning was not finished yet, adding: "I was thinking maybe Bill Belichick ... just to see how that kind of would have worked."

Woods, wearing his famous Sunday red, and Mickelson ensured the first hole was halved after their legendary quarterback team-mates were wayward from the tee in the rain with concerns that a storm may be on the way.

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