Liverpool taking coronavirus seriously but yet to reassess pre-season plans, says Klopp

By Sports Desk February 28, 2020

Liverpool are not taking the coronavirus threat lightly but are yet to consider amending their pre-season schedule, according to Jurgen Klopp.

The illness, which emerged in China's Hubei province in December, has now affected people in at least 53 countries and killed more than 2,800.

Italy has been most impacted by the virus in Europe, with several towns in the nation's northern regions put on lockdown.

That has led to widespread postponements of sporting events at all levels, while five of this weekend's Serie A matches are set to be played behind closed doors, including the Derby d'Italia between Juventus and Inter.

Newcastle United have taken to banning handshakes among players and staff as a prevention method following medical advice, but Liverpool are not making such decisions just yet.

Klopp was unaware of whether the issue will affect their pre-season plans, which according to reports could include a game in Asia.

"Not yet, over pre-season we've not thought of changes yet," Klopp told reporters on Friday. "The biomedical department, all advice we get from there.

"But if you [the media] come in here and don't shake hands, I'm now only two metres away from you, so whatever you have I probably can't avoid getting it as well. We had an interview outside and were even closer.

"We take it really serious, but you can't avoid everything. It's not a football problem, it's a society problem, what we all have in common, so I think everybody is thinking about it at the moment.

"Hopefully the people who are much smarter than us find a way to [end the illness], or medicine, as that's obviously the big problem at the moment, we don't have that yet.

"Hopefully it will settle, but at the moment we deal like all other people, take it seriously and maybe don't do things like maybe you would usually do, but it's like when flu is going around.

"For us it's the same, we can't do anything different to that and I think in the moment everyone takes it serious.

"We've not told anyone not to shake hands, but then we haven't said you have to shake hands. We have all these disinfection places where we can wash our hands, but is that enough? We don't know.

"No one has told us that we can't play football, and as long as that doesn't happen we will play football.

"It's important we take it seriously but not get crazy, because there are other areas in the world where it's more difficult and hopefully we find a really quick solution."

Liverpool are next in action on Saturday as they go to relegation-threatened Watford.

Related items

  • Coronavirus: Hancock welcomes 'big-hearted decision' as PL players announce charity fund Coronavirus: Hancock welcomes 'big-hearted decision' as PL players announce charity fund

    Matt Hancock, the United Kingdom's health secretary, has praised Premier League players for their "big-hearted decision" to set up the #PlayersTogether fund amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Stars from England's top flight have announced the creation of a charity fund to help health services in the UK fight against COVID-19.

    Players including Liverpool and Manchester United captains Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire confirmed the plans in a social media statement.

    Hancock last week urged elite footballers in England to play their part and doubled down on his comments in an interview at the weekend.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Wayne Rooney, Gary Neville and Gary Lineker have been among the high-profile figures stating it is unfair for footballers to be singled out during the debate over salary reductions amid the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

    And Hancock was swift to acknowledge the gesture after it was confirmed on Wednesday.

    He wrote on social media: "Warmly welcome this big-hearted decision from so many Premier League footballers to create #PlayersTogether to support NHS Charities. You are playing your part."

    Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford explained the players were eager to make sure money made its way to the frontline as the world struggles against the proliferation of the virus.

    "For us, we want to help in the best way possible and getting money to the right places is a massive thing," he said to BT Sport.

    "It took a lot of time, a lot of conversations between the players and we came to a decision that this was the best way to do it. The club have supported that, so everyone is happy.

    "You can get some backlash if you try to help but don't do it in the best way possible, so we wanted to take our time with the decision, and we did that."

    Lineker had previously questioned why other successful members of society were not coming under the same scrutiny as footballers.

    And he wrote on Twitter: "Footballers are doing their bit as I was confident they would.

    "Let's hope that others that are in a position to help, those that weren't unfairly targeted, do likewise. Proud of our players."

  • Coronavirus: Bundesliga aiming for early May restart behind closed doors Coronavirus: Bundesliga aiming for early May restart behind closed doors

    The Bundesliga is aiming to resume in early May with games behind closed doors, German Football League (DFL) chief executive Christian Seifert has revealed.

    Germany's top two divisions have been suspended until April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    According to the John Hopkins University, the country has had over 110,000 cases of COVID-19 infection – the fourth most in Europe – with more than 2,100 deaths.

    Seifert confirmed to the New York Times plans are being put in place for the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga to restart with spectator-free matches next month.

    "We are part of the culture in the country, people long to get back a short piece of normal life, and that could mean the Bundesliga plays again," Seifert said.

    "This is why we have to play our role here, and that means to support the government and to talk with the government about when we will be able to play again.

    "The sooner we are finished, the more flexibility we can provide to the European football landscape."

    Seifert also suggested that cancelling the season could put five Bundesliga clubs in serious financial trouble, while half the teams in the second tier would be "very much in danger to file for bankruptcy".

    Bayern Munich chief executive Herbert Hainer said he expects the pandemic to lead to a significant reduction in transfer fees. Seifert believes a full collapse is on the cards.

    "In the short term, I would say the transfer market this summer will not exist, it will collapse," he said.

    "Some agents will suddenly understand that they will have to work hard, or at least work; some leagues will understand that money is nothing that is coming automatically every month from heaven."

  • Coronavirus: Premier League stars announce #PlayersTogether charity fund Coronavirus: Premier League stars announce #PlayersTogether charity fund

    Premier League stars have announced the creation of a charity fund to help health services in the United Kingdom during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Players including Liverpool and Manchester United captains Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire confirmed the plans in a social media statement on Tuesday.

    The announcement comes after UK health secretary Matt Hancock had urged the highest-paid footballers in the country to "play their part" in helping key services during the COVID-19 crisis.

    Those comments attracted criticism from some in the sport, including United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who said it was unfair to paint players as an easy target while discussions about contributions to health services and charities were ongoing.

    The statement said: "Over the course of the last week we, as a group of Premier League players, have held numerous talks together with the vision of creating a contribution fund that can be used to distribute money to where it's needed most in this COVID-19 crisis; helping those fighting for us on the NHS frontline as well as other key areas of need. This is a critical time for our country and for our NHS, and we are determined to help in any way that we can.

    "We can confirm that after extensive conversations between a huge number of players from all Premier League clubs we have created our own collective player initiative, #PlayersTogether, and have partnered with NHS Charities Together (NHSCT) in order to assist them in generating and distributing funds quickly and efficiently to where they are needed most.

    "NHSCT is the national umbrella organisation for over 150 registered charities, working closely with the Charity Commission, Department of Health and Social Care, and NHS England to represent, champion, and support the NHS' official charities. NHSCT are the official charity partner of the NHS nationally.

    "The contributions that this initiative will generate will help NHSCT quickly grant funds to the front line to support in a number of ways, including to help enhance the well-being of NHS staff, volunteers and patients impacted by COVID-19 as well as helping them in their work supporting many other critical areas of need both now and in the longer term.

    "#PlayersTogether is about we, as players, collaborating together to create a voluntary initiative, separate to any other club and league conversations, that can help get much needed funds to those that need it right now. To try and help, along with so many others in the country, make a real difference.

    "Our prayers and thoughts go out to everybody affected by this crisis. By sticking together, we will get through this."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.