Liverpool could be denied their first ever Premier League title should the domestic season be cut short by coronavirus.
Jurgen Klopp’s relentless winning machine equalled a domestic record on Monday by registering a 19th consecutive victory, moving to within four wins of claiming the prize which has evaded them since 1990.
The rapid spread of the virus has already had ramifications in Italy where several Serie A fixtures have been postponed, or been played behind closed doors, while next week’s scheduled Six Nations clash between Ireland and the Azzurri has been postponed.
According the Daily Telegraph, there is no Premier League legislation in place relating to the season being curtailed and crisis talks would ensue were the Government to intervene and cancel all sporting events in the country for up to two months.
Liverpool currently enjoy an unprecedented 22-point lead over second placed Manchester City and are overwhelming favourites to extend that margin with a win at Watford on Saturday, with Pep Guardiola’s side set to contest the Carabao Cup final 24 hours later.
Denying Liverpool the title would undoubtedly cause major uproar but the Premier League would face a difficult decision were they to declare the Reds as champions and, at the same time, relegate the three teams currently in the drop zone.
Newcastle United have already banned shaking hands between players and staff at their training ground, while Tottenham screened journalists before Jose Mourinho’s pre-match press conference on Friday.
Asked, meanwhile, if Liverpool were planning to change their pre-season schedule given they are planning a summer trip to Asia, Klopp told reporters: ‘Not yet, over pre-season we’ve not thought of changes yet. 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.’
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