Over three months after the ball was last kicked, the Premier League is set to restart on June 17.

There have been major doubts over whether the 2019-20 season could be finished amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the action is set to resume in less than three weeks - subject to government approval.

Liverpool were cruising their way to becoming champions of England for the first time in 30 years when the campaign was halted and are poised to lift the trophy behind closed doors.

There may be no title race to look forward to, but it is all to play for in the battle to stay up and European qualification is there for the taking.

We look at the season so far and what is to come in a hectic schedule, with all but four teams having nine matches to play.

 

What is the state of play?

leading the defending champions - who have a game in hand - by a mammoth 25 points.

Watford are the only side to have beaten the European champions, who have had the champagne on ice for months and may have to play higher profile matches at neutral venues.

Norwich City, Aston Villa and Bournemouth are in the relegation zone, with Watford, West Ham and Brighton and Hove Albion also in danger of being consigned to the drop.

Bottom side Norwich are six points adrift of Watford and West Ham, who are only out of the bottom three on goal difference.

Fifth place will be good enough for Champions League qualification if City fail to overturn a ban from the competition and several sides are in the hunt to play in Europe's premier club competition.

Third-placed Leicester City look to be heading for the Champions League, while Chelsea are fourth and three points ahead of Manchester United.

Six points separate seven clubs from United down to Crystal Palace, with Sheffield United the surprise package and one of the stories of the season in seventh place.

 

What have been the big controversies?

A two-year Champions League ban imposed on City by UEFA for allegedly breaching Financial Fair Play rules in February rocked Pep Guardiola's side.

City have appealed against the verdict and June 8-10 is when the case will be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, with concerns for Guardiola that he could lose key players if they are unsuccessful.

Tottenham's decision to sack Mauricio Pochettino came as a shock in November and the north-London club swiftly appointed Jose Mourinho as his successor.

It came as no surprise when Unai Emery was fired by Arsenal soon after Pochettino's departure, with the Gunners turning to Mikel Arteta to replace his fellow Spaniard.

 

Who had momentum before everything stopped?

United were on a roll before the hiatus, putting together an unbeaten run of 11 games in all competitions to stand well poised for a Champions League berth.

Arsenal had gone eight without defeat in the top flight, winning three in a row prior to the season being suspended, while Burnley had not lost in seven games to move up to 10th.

 

Which clubs have had it toughest during the COVID-19 months?

Liverpool and Tottenham were among the teams who were strongly criticised for using the government furlough scheme for non-playing staff and duly changed their mind.

Jack Grealish, Kyle Walker and Moise Kean were among the players who were caught flouting lockdown regulations.

Spurs and Arsenal players also hit the headlines for the wrong reasons for breaching social distancing rules.

The league was suspended after Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi contracted COVID-19, while three rounds of coronavirus testing at Premier League clubs in the past fortnight have returned 12 positive results.

Jurgen Klopp is not bothered about when or where Liverpool lift the Premier League title as it will be an "absolutely exceptional day" regardless of the circumstances.

The English top flight is set to resume on June 17 following a three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Liverpool requiring a maximum of two more wins to seal top spot.

However, the police have asked for six of the division's remaining 92 matches - including the game in which the Reds can wrap up the title - to be moved to a neutral venue.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters revealed on Friday a decision over where Liverpool's remaining games will be played is expected to be made by the end of next week.

But Klopp is not convinced his side will have to play at neutral grounds and even if that is the case he is simply happy they will have a chance win a first league title in 30 years on the pitch.

"In the moment for me whenever it will be, in an empty stadium blah, blah, blah, with all the thoughts and prayers and love from the people all around the world it will still be an absolutely exceptional day in my life," he told beIN SPORTS.

"Wherever it will be I don't know - we hope it will be at Anfield but we don't know and that's not important. I'm pretty sure that we can solve the situation here as well in Liverpool.

"We waited a while for this situation and it's not done yet; if we had stopped the league, or it would not have happened, the silly null and void stuff. 

"We wanted to play anyway and now we are really desperate to play because we want to become champions on the pitch and it looks like we can do that.

"It will not be perfect but we knew for a while it would not be perfect so we are used to that. We want to have it and then we will see how it feels. I am pretty sure it will feel pretty good.

"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."

Social distancing rules remain in place in the United Kingdom and Klopp stressed the importance of supporters staying away from Anfield over the coming weeks.

"I heard a day ago a really good phrase, that we have the best home fans in the world, and now we need the best stay-at-home fans in the world," he said.

"There will be a moment in our life when we have time and the opportunity and it's allowed to celebrate together then we will have a moment, and we will celebrate it in the right manner. Whenever that will be, then we decide how much we enjoy it then.

"So who cares, that's really not so important. We just want to be together in that moment and we will see how much close contact is allowed at the time."

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters accepts a small number of this season's remaining games may have to be staged at neutral venues.

The English top flight is set to resume on June 17 following a three-month hiatus owing to the coronavirus pandemic, with 92 matches still to be played.

Each of those fixtures will be behind closed doors and the police have requested that six games, including at least three Liverpool matches, be moved to a neutral venue.

Masters acknowledges that may be the only way forward if the competition is to be played to its conclusion, with a decision expected to be made by the end of next week.

"It's our preference to play the games where they were originally planned home and away but there are some concerns," he told Sky Sports News. 

"We'll have a clearer picture in the next seven to 10 days but we hope the amount of games will be low. 

"[The police] have legitimate concerns but we think we can mitigate some of the issues they're trying to deal with. 

"Ultimately, we want the season to be played out on the pitch and we're discussing a number of options to make it as fair as possible."

Liverpool need two wins to finish top and Masters intends to uphold tradition by allowing them to lift the trophy once they get over the line, regardless of the venue.

"Well they've got to complete the task first, as you know, and I think we'll do everything we possibly can to deliver a trophy presentation," he said.

"I think there's a way of doing it, but safely and within the regulations. I think it's really important to be able to mark that moment because of all the efforts that have gone into it.

"Not just for the players, the staff, the coaches, the managers, the team behind the scenes, but also for the fans to be able to have that moment and a memory to mark it with."

However, Masters says there is still work to be done to ensure the Premier League gets a formal green light to kick off in less than three weeks.

"We have put a new staging post in the ground to start on June 17 but to get there we have got to go through a lot of hard work and more consultation to get our stage three protocols agreed," he added.

"There is still a lot of work to be done before we can kick-off. The talks were intense. To put a new staging post in the ground wasn't a vote but it was supported by everybody."

Once the headache of completing this season is over with, plans will be put in place for 2020-21, which Masters hopes will see the return of supporters to grounds.

"No one knows when matches will move away from the behind-closed-doors model and it is right to have contingency plans in place," he said.

"But there is optimism at the Premier League and at clubs that we will see fans back in the stadiums next season and it may happen on a phased basis. Hopefully it will be a huge morale boost and that is what we've been working towards.

"We've got some incredible fans in this country and we all know the Premier League as we know and love it won't be fully back until we have fans back through the turnstiles.

"Getting it back on our TV screens for people to enjoy will hopefully give the whole country a boost."

Liverpool look set to clinch the Premier League title at a neutral venue as part of a request from police.

The 2019-20 top-flight season is set to return on June 17 following a lengthy delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, with all fixtures to be staged behind closed doors.

Most will take place at the scheduled venues, though local police have asked for six – including the game in which Jurgen Klopp's side could wrap up the league – to be moved.

The Reds sit 25 points clear at the top of the table and require just two more victories to be crowned champions for the first time in 30 years.

The Merseyside derby is among the list revealed by police, as well as Liverpool's trips to reigning champions Manchester City and Newcastle United.

City's clash with Newcastle is also included, plus Manchester United against Sheffield United.

Deputy chief constable Mark Roberts – the national football policing lead – said in a statement: "Our discussions with the Premier League throughout this process have been positive, with a shared focus on the priority of public health.

"As such we have reached a consensus that balances the needs of football, while also minimising the demand on policing. The majority of remaining matches will be played at home and away as scheduled, with a small number of fixtures taking place at neutral venues, which, contrary to some reports, have yet to be agreed.

"The views and agreement of forces which host Premier League clubs have been sought and where there were concerns, the Premier League has been supportive in providing flexibility in arranging alternative venues where requested.

"This plan will be kept continually under review to ensure public health and safety and a key part of this is for supporters to continue to respect the social distancing guidelines, and not to attend or gather outside the stadiums."

Ryan Giggs has been so impressed by "fantastic" Liverpool this season that he is trying to get his Wales team to play like Jurgen Klopp's side. 

The Reds' relentless pace in the Premier League has been too much for their challengers, with Liverpool having built up a 25-point lead over Manchester City prior to the season being paused in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

It was confirmed on Thursday that the top flight will resume on June 17 and Liverpool need just two more wins from their final nine fixtures to guarantee a first domestic title in three decades. 

Much of the past 30 years since has been dominated by Manchester United, with whom Giggs won 13 Premier League titles, but the Wales boss has nothing but admiration for Klopp's current crop. 

"With the obvious pause in the season because of COVID-19, I think there's a lot of questions still to be answered," Giggs told Sky Sports. 

"But I think what we have seen this year is Liverpool are a fantastic team, managed by a great coach in Jurgen Klopp and, it pains me to say it as a United fan, but they have been fantastic this season.

"Obviously they'll go on and, whatever way it is, they'll win the league and deserve it.

"They've had two brilliant seasons actually, last year pushing Man City all the way. They're a great team to watch.

"There were certain things that I've taken out of the way that Liverpool play, and taking it on to the way that I want to do with Wales.

"Hopefully United will bridge that gap and catch them up. But you have to give credit where credit is due and Liverpool have been fantastic this season."

United, now managed by Giggs' former team-mate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, are fifth in the Premier League, 37 points behind Liverpool.

Premier League clubs fearing a cancelled season could decide their fate away from the pitch can breathe a sigh of relief after it was confirmed the top flight is set to return on June 17.

The 20 clubs have either nine or 10 fixtures each still to complete and though the title race may have already nearly reached the finish line, there is plenty to be decided further down the table.

Here, we take a look at the crucial fixtures that will determine the title, European qualification and the battle to avoid relegation.

 

MD30: Tottenham v Manchester United

Scott McTominay's derby-settling winner against Manchester City had helped Ole Gunnar Solskjaer build up plenty of goodwill back in March, but the United momentum has surely been halted by the lengthy break.

They have a tough assignment first up against a Tottenham side that will likely have Harry Kane back from injury.

Solskjaer, whose own squad is set to be boosted by Marcus Rashford's return, has a fine record against the 'big six', though, and a win here - against a club led by his predecessor Jose Mourinho - would boost United's top-four hopes and significantly damage their opponents'.

 

MD31: Liverpool v Crystal Palace

It is a matter of when, rather than if, the Reds wrap up their first top-flight title in three decades, with Liverpool needing just two more wins to guarantee they will be crowned champions.

Should City lose to Arsenal when the league resumes, Liverpool could seal the title across the road from Anfield with a win at Goodison Park.

But the likelihood is Klopp's side will face Palace - the team who helped derail their title bid in 2014 with the 3-3 'Crystanbul' draw - knowing victory would end their long wait for Premier League glory.

 

MD35: Sheffield United v Chelsea

Beyond Liverpool's imperious march to the title, the story of the 2019-20 Premier League season has been the Blades' magnificent campaign following promotion last term.

The top four is still a realistic possibility for Chris Wilder's side, particularly if they can win their game in hand against Aston Villa and close the gap on fourth-placed Chelsea to two points, but they face a fight to qualify for the Europa League regardless.

They still have some tough fixtures left on the schedule, with Wolves, Everton and Tottenham their other three home games, but this contest against Frank Lampard's Blues will have a big say in their Europa League, or Champions League, chances.

 

MD35: Tottenham v Arsenal

Champions League regulars in recent seasons, there is a distinct possibility that neither Tottenham nor north London rivals Arsenal are even in Europe's second-tier competition next term.

Both are currently outside the top seven but within three points of Wolves and the Blades, who currently occupy the final two Europa League spots – presuming City's European ban stands.

This derby therefore has extra significance. The possibility of no European football in 2020-21 could also prompt Kane and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang to seek pastures new when the transfer window reopens...

 

MD36: West Ham v Watford

The destination of the title may be a foregone conclusion but the battle to avoid the drop is far less clear.

Even Norwich City, six points adrift, will believe they can survive given they must still face West Ham, Brighton and Hove Albion and Watford.

Only goal difference currently separates West Ham and Watford from the bottom three and they meet in a pivotal contest towards the back end of the season.

 

MD38: West Ham v Aston Villa

The Hammers are no stranger to final-day drama - their draw with United in 1995 handed the title to Blackburn Rovers, while Carlos Tevez's winner at Old Trafford in 2007 helped ensure they stayed up.

David Moyes' men may need more heroics if the fight to avoid relegation goes to the wire.

Villa will begin the resumption in 19th place, two points behind West Ham, but with a game in hand. All eyes could be on London Stadium on the final day.

After what will have been a three-month absence, the Premier League is set to restart on June 17.

The first games following the coronavirus pandemic will see Manchester City take on Arsenal and Aston Villa play Sheffield United, before a full round of fixtures begins on June 19.

Liverpool are a maximum of two wins away from clinching a first title in 30 years, though they could secure the trophy against Everton at Goodison Park on matchday 30 if City lose their first match back against Arsenal.

There is also plenty to play for in the race for European qualification and the battle against the drop.

We look at the outstanding 92 games in the 2019-20 Premier League season.

Matchday 28

Aston Villa v Sheffield United
Manchester City v Arsenal

Matchday 30

Aston Villa v Chelsea
Bournemouth v Crystal Palace
Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal
Everton v Liverpool
Manchester City v Burnley
Newcastle United v Sheffield United
Norwich City v Southampton
Tottenham v Manchester United
Watford v Leicester City
West Ham v Wolves

Matchday 31

Burnley v Watford
Chelsea v Manchester City
Leicester City v Brighton and Hove Albion
Liverpool v Crystal Palace
Manchester United v Sheffield United
Newcastle United v Aston Villa
Norwich City v Everton
Southampton v Arsenal
Tottenham v West Ham
Wolves v Bournemouth

Matchday 32

Arsenal v Norwich City
Aston Villa v Wolves
Bournemouth v Newcastle United
Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester United
Crystal Palace v Burnley
Everton v Leicester City
Manchester City v Liverpool
Sheffield United v Tottenham
Watford v Southampton
West Ham v Chelsea

Matchday 33

Burnley v Sheffield United
Chelsea v Watford
Leicester City v Crystal Palace
Liverpool v Aston Villa
Manchester United v Bournemouth
Newcastle United v West Ham
Norwich City v Brighton and Hove Albion
Southampton v Manchester City
Tottenham v Everton
Wolves v Arsenal

Matchday 34

Arsenal v Leicester City
Aston Villa v Manchester United
Brighton and Hove Albion v Liverpool
Bournemouth v Tottenham
Crystal Palace v Chelsea
Everton v Southampton
Manchester City v Newcastle United
Sheffield United v Wolves
Watford v Norwich City
West Ham v Burnley

Matchday 35

Aston Villa v Crystal Palace
Bournemouth v Leicester City
Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester City
Liverpool v Burnley
Manchester United v Southampton
Norwich City v West Ham
Sheffield United v Chelsea
Tottenham v Arsenal
Watford v Newcastle United
Wolves v Everton

Matchday 36

Arsenal v Liverpool
Burnley v Wolves
Chelsea v Norwich City
Crystal Palace v Manchester United
Everton v Aston Villa
Leicester City v Sheffield United
Manchester City v Bournemouth
Newcastle United v Tottenham
Southampton v Brighton and Hove Albion
West Ham v Watford

Matchday 37

Aston Villa v Arsenal
Bournemouth v Southampton
Brighton and Hove Albion v Newcastle United
Liverpool v Chelsea
Manchester United v West Ham
Norwich City v Burnley
Sheffield United v Everton
Tottenham v Leicester City
Watford v Manchester City
Wolves v Crystal Palace

Matchday 38

Arsenal v Watford
Burnley v Brighton and Hove Albion
Chelsea v Wolves
Crystal Palace v Tottenham
Everton v Bournemouth
Leicester City v Manchester United
Manchester City v Norwich City
Newcastle United v Liverpool
Southampton v Sheffield United
West Ham v Aston Villa

The Premier League season is set to resume on June 17 with Manchester City hosting Arsenal and Aston Villa taking on Sheffield United.

Those Wednesday fixtures, the first of the 92 remaining in a season that has been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, represent games in hand for the four teams involved.

Once completed, each of the 20 Premier League clubs will have played 29 games.

A full round of matches is then planned take place from June 19, as Liverpool - with a 25-point lead at the top - aim to secure their first top-flight title in 30 years.

All weekend games are set to kick-off at different times, with midweek matches taking place across Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: "Today we have provisionally agreed to resume the Premier League on Wednesday, June 17.

"But this date cannot be confirmed until we have met all the safety requirements needed, as the health and welfare of all participants and supporters is our priority.

"Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches. 

"The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters. It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home.

"We will continue to work step-by-step and in consultation with all our stakeholders as we move towards resuming the 2019-20 season."

It has been reported the Premier League hopes to complete the campaign by or on August 2, with the FA Cup final potentially taking place the weekend after.

No matches have been played in the English top flight since March 9 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which caused the suspension of most sport across the globe.

A total of 12 people have tested positive for coronavirus after 2,752 tests across the league.

However, with teams having returned to contact training this week, the Premier League – following a shareholders meeting on Thursday – confirmed a restart date for the competition.

Football in Germany has already got back under way, with three rounds of Bundesliga fixtures having been played behind closed doors.

LaLiga has been granted permission to restart in the week commencing June 8, while Serie A clubs are awaiting the green light from the Italian government to resume next month.

The 2019-20 Premier League campaign has at last been given a date from which to resume.

The competition, suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, will return from June 17 and, all being well, be played to its conclusion.

The disruption came with Liverpool just two wins away from a first league title in 30 years, while Manchester United had been improving in pursuit of Champions League qualification.

With the help of Opta, we take a look at the most interesting facts relating to England's 'Big Six' and their campaigns so far.


LIVERPOOL

- Jurgen Klopp's side are top of the pile but do not look as defensively solid as they did in the 2018-19 season. Liverpool have conceded 21 times in the league this term, just one goal fewer than in their entire previous 38-game campaign.

- Roberto Firmino finally ended a long wait for an Anfield goal against Atletico Madrid in March. It was his first home Liverpool strike in 20 games in all competitions since netting against Porto in April 2019, 337 days earlier.

- The Reds were just starting to wobble slightly. With the defeat at home to Atletico, Liverpool had lost four of their past six matches in all competitions – as many defeats as in their previous 67 games.


MANCHESTER CITY

- Manchester City have lost seven Premier League games this season, one more than in their previous two campaigns combined.

- Heading into the break, Sergio Aguero had scored 180 Premier League goals for Manchester City. Only Wayne Rooney – 183 for United – has scored more for a single team in the competition's history, with Aguero passing Thierry Henry – 175 for Arsenal – earlier this term.

- Kevin De Bruyne is the first player to register 15 or more assists in three different Premier League seasons. Only Cesc Fabregas had previously done so in more than one campaign.


CHELSEA

- Chelsea have lost five Premier League home games already this season. Only in 1994-95 – seven times – have they been beaten more often at Stamford Bridge.

- The Blues are also winless away from home in the league in 2020, drawing three and losing one of their four matches. They last endured a longer such run in the 2015-16 season, failing to taste victory over seven straight away trips.

- Frank Lampard has been reliant on homegrown talent this season. Only Leicester City (31) and Southampton (24) have more goals from English players than Chelsea's 21 – level with United.


MANCHESTER UNITED

- United are unbeaten in 11 in all competitions, but their points return of 45 is still their lowest through 29 games of a Premier League season.

- Bruno Fernandes inspired their change in fortunes, though, and he has been involved in more Premier League goals (five – two goals, three assists) since his February 1 debut than any other player.

- At 25 years and 86 days old, United have the youngest average starting XI in the Premier League this season.


TOTTENHAM

- No side have kept fewer clean sheets in the Premier League than Tottenham's four this season. The last time they kept so few in the first 29 matches of a campaign was in 2006-07 (also four).

- Spurs had been missing Harry Kane (131.18 minutes per goal), Son Heung-min (152.31 mins per goal) and January signing Steven Bergwijn (280.5 mins per goal) through injury. Dele Alli has the best minutes per goal ratio – 298 – among the rest of the squad in all competitions this season. Perhaps the break may have done them some good...


ARSENAL

- Arsenal have drawn 13 Premier League games this season – already their highest such tally since 17 in 1993-94.

- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's 17 goals have been worth 16 points to Arsenal this season. Only Sadio Mane's 14 goals have been worth more (18 points) to a single club.

The Premier League season will resume on June 17, according to widespread reports, with Manchester City hosting Arsenal and Aston Villa taking on Sheffield United.

Those Wednesday fixtures, the first of the 92 remaining in a season that has been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, represent games in hand for the four teams involved..

Once completed, each of the 20 Premier League clubs will have played 29 games.

A full round of matches will then take place the following weekend, as Liverpool - with a 25-point lead at the top - aim to secure their first top-flight title in 30 years.

The Premier League hopes to complete the campaign by or on August 2, with the FA Cup final potentially taking place the weekend after.

No matches have been played in the Premier League since March 9 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which caused the suspension of sport across the globe.

A total of 12 people have tested positive for coronavirus after 2,752 tests across the league.

However, with teams having returned to contact training this week, the Premier League – following a shareholders meeting on Thursday – is poised to confirm a restart date for the competition.

Football in Germany has already got back under way, with three rounds of Bundesliga fixtures having been played behind closed doors.

LaLiga has been granted permission to restart in the week commencing June 8, while Serie A clubs are awaiting the green light from the Italian government to resume next month.

Roberto Firmino has gone "rogue" with his lockdown haircut, but James Milner can be proud of his "absolute worldie", according to Liverpool team-mate Andy Robertson.

Following a two-month hiatus owing to the coronavirus pandemic, Liverpool's players returned to their Melwood training base last week to take part in small group sessions.

The look of many of the Reds' players has dramatically altered since they were last in action, with barber shops across the United Kingdom forced to close during the lockdown.

Adam Lallana, Sadio Mane and Alisson Becker have each embraced a new look, but it is Firmino's longer locks that have taken Robertson most by surprise.

"There are a couple of questionable ones," he told Liverpool's official website. "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."

Milner is another who has altered him image, but Robertson believes the veteran midfielder – unlike many of his other team-mates – can be pleased with his fresh trim.

"I think Mrs Milner has pulled off an absolute worldie with that one, to be honest," he said.

"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 okay 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!"

Andy Robertson admits he feared a return to Premier League action might not be possible and he is now determined to end Liverpool's 30-year title wait.

Jurgen Klopp's men opened up a 25-point lead at the top of the table before football was brought to a halt in early March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the Premier League is on course to restart in mid-to-late June after clubs voted on Wednesday for a return to full-contact training.

Liverpool need just two victories from their remaining nine games to win the title and Robertson is delighted a restart is now in sight, albeit with fans not permitted to attend games.

"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," he told Liverpool's official website. 

"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."

Robertson and his Liverpool team-mates returned to their Melwood training base last week for the first time in two months to partake in small group sessions.

And the Scotland international says he is like an excited schoolboy after reuniting with his colleagues, who remained in close contact during lockdown in the United Kingdom.

"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," he said.

"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.

"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."

If Lautaro Martinez heads to Barcelona, Inter may land Timo Werner as his replacement as Liverpool withdraw from the race for the RB Leipzig star.

Martinez and Werner are two forwards linked with moves during the close season after impressive campaigns at Inter and RB Leipzig respectively.

And Werner could reportedly fill Martinez's boots at San Siro if the Argentina international makes the switch.

 

TOP STORY – WERNER COULD REPLACE BARCELONA TARGET LAUTARO

RB Leipzig star Werner is the leading candidate to replace Martinez if the Inter forward joins Barcelona, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Werner has been heavily linked with a transfer to Liverpool, but the Mirror reports the Premier League leaders have withdrawn from talks as they are unwilling to meet his £49.4million (€55m) release clause.

Meanwhile, AS reports Philippe Coutinho could be part of Barca's bid to land Martinez, even as Inter say the only way the 22-year-old will leave is by his reported €111m clause being paid.

ROUND-UP

- Will Barcelona and Juventus get an exchange deal done? Sport reports Juve are pushing to land Arthur, but the midfielder wants to stay with the LaLiga giants. Miralem Pjanic has been linked with a move to Camp Nou.

- Staying at Barcelona and Mundo Deportivo reports the club are willing to let Ousmane Dembele leave if a good offer arrives. The attacker has been linked with a switch to Paris Saint-Germain, with Neymar reportedly a target for Barcelona.

- David Luiz's future appears uncertain. Sky Sports News reports the defender's stay at Arsenal could be coming to an end after one season as his contract expires next month and no talks are planned over a new deal.

- It seems Tiemoue Bakayoko could be set for another transfer. Le 10 Sport says the midfielder, on loan at Monaco from Chelsea, is being targeted by Milan and West Ham, with PSG's interest having eased.

- With Kepa Arrizabalaga out of favour, Chelsea are said to be looking for a new goalkeeper. The Sun says the Premier League side are lining up a £15m (€16.7m) move for Borussia Dortmund shot-stopper Roman Burki.

- Staying at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea are also reportedly eyeing a left-back. The Mirror reports they are keeping an eye on developments around Ajax full-back Nicolas Tagliafico, who could be available for around £22m (€24.5m).

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