Despite enjoying a 22-point lead at the top of the Premier League, and with the club set to be crowned champions in a few weeks’ time, Liverpool could still miss out on a first Premier League title. This is because the threat of Coronavirus spreading is being taken that seriously, the government are considering cancelling all sporting fixtures, thus cutting the season short.
It is being reported that Jurgen Klopp’s side have ‘no guarantee’ that they would still be crowned champions should the season end early, which would spark a lot of controversy and anger across Merseyside. The report further details that ‘no specific regulation’ is in place should all 38 top-flight games in the Premier League be incomplete, which might also see all three teams in the relegation zone reprieved from the drop.
More than 80,000 people in around 50 countries have been infected with the virus so far – with 2,800 confirmed deaths. This has sparked government’s like Switzerland’s to cancel all events where 1,000 people or more were due to attend, with all football fixtures called. If the Premier League were to follow this example, mirroring advice from the UK government, Liverpool could miss out on a title they undoubtedly deserve.
With just 11 games left in the Premier League season, Liverpool are cruising to their first top-flight title in 30 years, but the virus is spreading quickly across Europe, which has increased fears that the UK government could ‘opt to cancel sporting events for two months’.
In the event of a suspension or cancellation, it is reported that ‘crisis talks’ would be held to determine if the previous results of the 27 rounds of matches can stand. Liverpool have won 26 matches so far in what has been a quite stunning campaign, drawing just once with their bitter rivals, Manchester United, earlier in the campaign. They have dominated English football this season and are the current World and European club champions.
Klopp’s side need just four more wins to claim the Premier League title, so any move to take that away from them would prove highly controversial. It would also impact on qualification for the Champions League for next season, and the battle against relegation.
Chelsea are currently fourth in the race for the final Champions League spot, with Manchester United, Tottenham and Sheffield United all within four points of them. That dilemma is not as clear cut as Liverpool’s claims on the title though.
At the bottom, Norwich, Watford and West Ham sit in the relegation zone but are far from condemned and would benefit from all results being wiped out with no title or relegation for the 2019-20 campaign.
The Premier League have said they currently have no plans to end pre-match handshakes in a bid to tackle the passing of the virus, however, Newcastle revealed that they have banned their players from shaking hands with each other amid the fear of transporting the virus.
Football fans can point to examples of thousands of people being in close proximity to each other where no such bans have been discussed, such as travelling on the underground, or going to nightclubs.