LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes the Premier League must avoid implementing a “circuit-breaker” shutdown to help reduce Covid-19 infections, saying the safety measures in place will ensure the competition is not affected.
West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce had last week called for a temporary suspension of the Premier League after a record number of positive cases in a week.
The surge in infections led to the postponement of Everton’s clash with Manchester City on Monday and Tottenham’s home game against Fulham two days later.
Klopp is ready to put Liverpool’s title defence on hold if needed, but stressed the role football can play in these uncertain times.
“It is understandable (to have concerns), but we try to do everything to keep the boys as safe as possible and I think the competition can go on,” he said ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Southampton.
“People want to watch it and, in this case, we are not part of society because usually we isolate, we go to the training ground and stuff like that, so I think we can carry on.
“But I am not a specialist and I respect all the decisions made in the next few weeks.”
The Reds are top of the standings on 33 points, level with Manchester United after the Red Devils beat Aston Villa 2-1 on Friday. The fierce rivals face each other on Jan 17 at Anfield.
James Milner believes that Liverpool will have to “kick on” this year after two disappointing draws (1-1 with West Brom and 0-0 with Newcastle) left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men breathing down their necks.
“We’ve dropped points, everyone seems to be dropping points. United have had a good run and they’re probably the only team who are putting a run together,” Milner said on the club website.
“It’s important that we need to kick on now and try to get a few three-pointers.”
Liverpool have already dropped as many points (six draws, one defeat) in 16 matches this season as they did in the whole of the previous campaign.
We’ve dropped points, everyone seems to be dropping points… It’s important that we need to kick on now and try to get a few three-pointers.
Last season, Klopp’s side did not lose a league match until Feb 29, having won all of their games except one – against United – up until that point.
The unique circumstances of the 2020-21 campaign, with its lack of a proper pre-season and a compressed schedule as a result of the coronavirus, meant a repeat of Liverpool’s runaway success was never likely.
But Milner, 34, accepts they could still have done better despite their defensive injury crisis.
“There’s points we’ve dropped this season where we feel we could have done better. But to still be in the mix going into the New Year is good, especially with the problems we have,” he said.
“But we are a quality squad of players who have been together a long time and we are used to winning.
“We are disappointed not to get the three points (at Newcastle) but we want to get back on the winning track as soon as possible.”
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
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