Liverpool are about to win the title for the first time in 30 years but their celebrations could be affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
Behind the scenes at Anfield on Saturday, a host of measures were in place to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19.
According to The Athletic, Liverpool commissioned a deep clean of every area used by the players at their stadium.
James Milner, named man of the match in the 2-1 win over Bournemouth, wasn’t allowed to go upstairs to the Carlsberg and Legends lounges to receive his award as the club feared putting the vice-captain at increased risk.
Meanwhile, the Premier League has shelved the pre-match handshakes.
Matches in Italy are currently being played behind closed doors and that measure could be adopted in England if the crisis worsens in the coming weeks.
And with Liverpool so far ahead of every else, it very well could be the case that they seal the title in front of empty stands.
The Athletic’s report states that club officials consider the prospect of playing games behind closed doors “a real threat” if the number of cases in the UK increases.
Following Man United’s win over Man City on Sunday, Liverpool need just two more wins to be champions. They face Everton on March 16 and Crystal Palace on March 21.
It’s also states that the trophy parade, which has been pencilled in for Monday, May 18, could be in jeopardy.
It’s estimated that a trophy parade would attract about a million people to the streets of Liverpool.
The club would no doubt find a way to celebrate their first title since 1990 but they may be forced to delay the party.
Joe Blott, chair of Liverpool supporters’ union Spirit of Shankly, said it would be “very sad” if the fans weren’t there when Liverpool secure the title.
“Going to the game on Saturday, every fan I spoke to said exactly the same — winning it behind closed doors is our worst fear. It’s what everyone is talking about,” Blott told The Athletic.
“The first fear originally was winning the title by virtue of Manchester City slipping up. You want that moment when we’re playing and preferably at home.
“Now it could happen on our doorstep against Crystal Palace and there’s the prospect of fans not being allowed in to be part of the celebrations.
“After such a long wait and after such an incredible season, that would be very sad. It’s a moment in history everyone wants to be there for. We just hope it won’t come to that.”
Blott added: “We’re in dialogue with the club and we know they’re doing everything they can to help stop the spread of the virus.
“Of course this is much bigger than whether football matches go ahead and the situation is constantly changing. We’re not public health experts.
“What they need to bear in mind is that if the stadium is shut then fans will still try to get as close as possible to Anfield. Every pub will be rammed.
“It’s simplistic to say that if you close the ground you’ll contain it because fans will still get together. Fans will congregate in even more confined and probably more contagious environments.”
Liverpool supporters have waited so long for this. It would be terribly cruel for them and the players if they couldn't enjoy the moment together.
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