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June 30, 2020

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Klopp issues plea to Reds’ fans

Liverpool’s first league title in 30 years should be celebrated “in a safe way and in private settings,” manager Juergen Klopp said yesterday.

Fans partied outside Anfield on Thursday night and gathered on the waterfront in Liverpool the next evening to celebrate the English Premier League championship despite the ongoing threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“When the time is right we will celebrate,” Klopp told fans in a letter published by the Liverpool Echo.

“But for now, please stay at home as much as possible,” he wrote. “This is not the time to be in the city center in big numbers or to go near football grounds.”

Liverpool clinched the title with Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over second-place Manchester City on Thursday.

On Friday night, Merseyside Police issued a dispersal order for Liverpool city center. This allowed police to break up crowds that gathered on the Pier Head after part of the Liver Building caught fire amid the wild celebrations.

Videos that circulated on social media showed a firework hitting the distinctive building, which is partly owned by Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri.

Klopp told fans that he “did not love” what occurred at the Pier Head.

A joint statement on behalf of the club, the Liverpool City Council and Merseyside Police said several thousand people turned up at the Pier Head “and some chose to ignore the social distancing guidance and risk public safety. Our city is still in a public health crisis and this behavior is wholly unacceptable.”

More than 1,500 people have died after contracting COVID-19 in the Liverpool region since March.

“We have all done so much to fight COVID-19 and this effort cannot go to waste,” Klopp wrote.

“Please — celebrate — but celebrate in a safe way and in private settings, whereby we do not risk spreading this awful disease further in our community.”

Klopp thanked fans for their support during a remarkable season in which Liverpool has established a 23-point lead over City with seven games left.

Liverpool visits City on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the English Football Association will make 124 positions redundant within the organization due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the governing body said yesterday.

With soccer suspended for 100 days in England, the lack of revenue from international matches and domestic cup games hit the FA, which said it is planning for potential losses of around 300 million pounds (US$369.42 million).

“As a not-for-profit organization, this will hit us hard,” FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said in a statement.

“The situation has worsened to a point where we now need to reduce the size of the FA in order to deal with the financial impact of the crisis.”

The FA Cup restarted over the weekend with the four quarterfinal ties in empty stadiums with Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City advancing to the semifinals.

United will meet Chelsea while Arsenal face City, with the games scheduled to be played at Wembley on July 18-19.


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