Coronavirus: Liverpool hit back at mayor’s ‘non-starter’ comments

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Liverpool have hit back after the mayor of the city described plans to resume the Premier League season as a “non-starter”, suggesting it would lead to “farcical” scenes.

As with most sport across the planet, the English top flight is on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic, with no confirmed date for action to restart.

However, the idea of playing games behind closed doors, potentially at a selection of neutral venues, has been mooted.

The Reds are heavily in favour of concluding the 2019-20 campaign as Jurgen Klopp’s side sit 25 points clear at the summit, needing just two wins to secure the club’s first top-flight title in 30 years.

Mayor Joe Anderson, though, has a different view, saying in an interview with BBC Sport that a return to playing could see Liverpool fans crowd together outside Anfield even if games were played elsewhere. Such gatherings would be a clear breach of social distancing guidelines.

“A lot of people would come to celebrate so I think it’s a non-starter,” he said, adding: “I think it would be really difficult for the police to keep people apart and maintain social distancing if they were going to celebrate outside Anfield. It would be farcical.”

Liverpool were quick to respond, releasing a statement on their official website on Thursday.

“As a club, we are aware of and disappointed by comments attributed to mayor Joe Anderson in a media interview which was published today,” it read.

“As well as a lack of evidence to support such claims, we would also point to recent discussions with mayor Anderson relating to the possibility of any behind-closed-doors football, which concluded that it is important that key stakeholders across the city continue to engage and work collaboratively.

“In recent weeks, we have engaged with supporters’ groups who have informed us of their determination to respect social distancing measures and, in the event of a resumption of football being announced, we would continue to work with them and other key stakeholders in keeping with our collective desire to achieve this crucial objective.

“As part of our ongoing operations, we are in regular contact with the mayor and his office and we hope these conversations can continue.”