EPL

Liverpool set to clinch Premier League title at neutral venue

By Sports Desk May 29, 2020

Liverpool look set to clinch the Premier League title at a neutral venue as part of a request from police.

The 2019-20 top-flight season is set to return on June 17 following a lengthy delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, with all fixtures to be staged behind closed doors.

Most will take place at the scheduled venues, though local police have asked for six – including the game in which Jurgen Klopp's side could wrap up the league – to be moved.

The Reds sit 25 points clear at the top of the table and require just two more victories to be crowned champions for the first time in 30 years.

The Merseyside derby is among the list revealed by police, as well as Liverpool's trips to reigning champions Manchester City and Newcastle United.

City's clash with Newcastle is also included, plus Manchester United against Sheffield United.

Deputy chief constable Mark Roberts – the national football policing lead – said in a statement: "Our discussions with the Premier League throughout this process have been positive, with a shared focus on the priority of public health.

"As such we have reached a consensus that balances the needs of football, while also minimising the demand on policing. The majority of remaining matches will be played at home and away as scheduled, with a small number of fixtures taking place at neutral venues, which, contrary to some reports, have yet to be agreed.

"The views and agreement of forces which host Premier League clubs have been sought and where there were concerns, the Premier League has been supportive in providing flexibility in arranging alternative venues where requested.

"This plan will be kept continually under review to ensure public health and safety and a key part of this is for supporters to continue to respect the social distancing guidelines, and not to attend or gather outside the stadiums."

Related items

  • Sarri ignoring criticism as Juventus chase trophies Sarri ignoring criticism as Juventus chase trophies

    Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri insisted he was unworried about criticism as his team continue to chase trophies this season.

    Ahead of a trip to Sassuolo on Wednesday, Juve are six points clear atop Serie A with six games left to play, and also in the Champions League last 16.

    Sarri, who has lost the Coppa Italia final and Supercoppa Italiana this season, has faced some criticism, but the Juventus coach is not bothered.

    "Honestly, I don't pay much attention to criticism, I always try to be focused only on what I can do," he told a news conference.

    "I don't know what people say on social media because I'm not on them and I will never be in my life.

    "If we talk instead of people in the streets, I only receive support and affection."

    Juventus are winless in their past two games and needed a pair of penalties from Cristiano Ronaldo to draw with Atalanta last time out.

    Sarri was asked about his side's lack of goals from midfield, but he has no concerns about their firepower, although Ronaldo (seven) and Paulo Dybala (four) have netted the majority of their goals in the past six games.

    "We scored 17 goals in the last six matches and I'm not concerned about our scoring ratio frankly," he said.

    "We all know that among our midfielders [Aaron] Ramsey is the one that can potentially score more goals considering his individual characteristics.

    "Then we have two players that are growing a lot and in the future, I'm sure they will score more like [Rodrigo] Bentancur and [Adrien] Rabiot."

  • Lampard urges Chelsea to focus ahead of 'tough' finish Lampard urges Chelsea to focus ahead of 'tough' finish

    Frank Lampard believes it will be tough for Chelsea to secure Champions League qualification despite consolidating third place on Tuesday.

    Olivier Giroud's first-half goal was enough to see Chelsea edge Norwich City 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, moving four points clear of Leicester City and Manchester United, who are fourth and fifth respectively and have played one less game.

    But Lampard's men have league matches against Liverpool and Wolves to finish their campaign as they look to secure a top-four finish.

    The Chelsea head coach believes Chelsea still face a battle to secure their place in next season's Champions League.

    "I keep talking about mentality and I don't like the word bottle too much, but when you're coming up against Liverpool away and Wolves at home, it's just two very good opponents," Lampard told a news conference.

    "We just have to focus on those games one by one, prepare right, show the right attitude, I thought we showed it [against Norwich] in a way, those two games will look completely different to what tonight did.

    "But rather than talk about bottle, I want to talk about focus and I want to talk about attitude and then hopefully we have enough to get through, but it's going to be tough."

    In Lampard's first season in charge, Chelsea are also in the FA Cup semi-finals and Champions League last 16, although they suffered a 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich in the first leg.

    The 42-year-old has been pleased with Chelsea's progress, although accepted they still had a long way to go to catch Liverpool and Manchester City.

    "We can be pretty happy with where we're at right now," Lampard said.

    "I don't want to jump the gun because we have games that are going to be really pivotal on where we actually finish, but if we were to have said we would've been in third and contesting like we are and in the FA Cup and Champions League, I know it's going to be really tough but we got through the group stage, and you see the transition of the team and the youth and the issues we had, a lot of our players were on loan last year and most of those in the Championship, I think we can be pretty happy.

    "But I really do feel like there's a lot of work to do, I don't think we should get overly excited, the gap is clear with Liverpool and Manchester City in terms of points.

    "We are in a situation here, we're in a work in progress and there is a lot to do so I'm happy and I want a lot more and when we come back for the start of next season however this season ends we have to tackle it and say, 'Can we start closing that gap?' And it's going to be a tough job."

  • Lampard pays tribute to match-winner Giroud Lampard pays tribute to match-winner Giroud

    Frank Lampard paid tribute to Olivier Giroud's character and professionalism after becoming a key player for Chelsea in recent weeks despite appearing to be on his way out of the club in January.

    Giroud, 33, was strongly linked with a transfer away from Chelsea at the start of the year having reportedly grown frustrated with a lack of first-team football, finding himself back-up to Tammy Abraham.

    But Chelsea kept hold of the Frenchman and he has taken on a key role in the club's bid for Champions League qualification since the Premier League's resumption last month, scoring four times.

    His most recent was the winner in Tuesday's 1-0 triumph over Norwich City, which put Chelsea four points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United, and Lampard saluted Giroud's impact.

    "He is always going to give you a desire to get in there for the team," Lampard told Sky Sports. "He had a few half chances in the central area. That is what you have to do when he is in the team – use his attributes, try and cross the ball.

    "It's a great cross from Christian [Pulisic] for Olivier's goal. He is a big character for us, he has scored important goals, and that is really good.

    "Just before the lockdown as well, he came in and got us a couple of big results and that's probably credit he was due anyway.

    "He has never given me a problem, always trained brilliantly, and when Tammy was really playing very well earlier in the season and regularly staying in the team, his professionalism was always good.

    "I told him in January I wanted him to stay and he was fantastic with how he handled that, and he has continued to do that in the way he trains, and the way he plays is important for us."

    Lampard was by no means impressed with the collective display at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, though he accepts that getting the points is all that matters for the time being.

    "It was OK – I shouldn't joke because at this stage of the season, as we've seen in the last 48 hours, results are critical and we didn't concede any chances of note, we created a few ourselves, got our one goal," he said.

    "We could have got more with better quality, but it was OK, professional is probably the word. I want more, but that can wait. Where we are at as a team and the position in the table, three points was everything."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.