Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has stressed that football has no choice but to get used to playing games behind closed doors amid the coronavirus pandemic, because it is the only way games can take place, despite general reservations within the industry about soulless atmospheres.
Professional football returned in closed stadiums in Germany over the weekend and Klopp sees the Bundesliga as an example for the Premier League, with goals still plentiful and the level of competition still high owing to things like relegation and European places at stake.
“I know, football behind closed doors, of course it’s not the same, (but) why do we have to mention it? We love that but we cannot have it,” Klopp is quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.
The Liverpool boss added there is no point dwelling on something that isn’t going to happen, urging everyone to come to terms with the reality that is closed stadiums or nothing.
“It looks like it will be possible – and it is in Germany already possible – to play behind closed doors. (So) use the thing you have in the moment,” he continued.
“The German football games were really good; super goals, real fight, tight games, clear games, clear results, a proper fight. Imagine, the first night is a little bit like, ‘Have a look here and there, how will it work, how does it feel?’
“But in Germany so many teams play for pretty much everything – they want to stay in the league – and that’s exactly the same what will happen in England.”
Safety for all those involved has been a major concern amid the Premier League’s efforts to plan a restart for June. 748 tests carried out at 19 clubs returned six positive results, which includes one player and two staff at Watford, as well as Burnley assistant manager Ian Woan.
Germany also had a number of positive tests as preparations to play were being made, but Klopp insists that sticking to the measures in place will keep players safe.
“Of course, there are different opinions, but I think with all the things we know about, sticking to the social distancing rule with testing as often as possible and stuff like this, the players will be safe,” the former Borussia Dortmund coach continued.
“Germany showed this already – a couple of players had a positive test during the long period, they trained for five weeks and now they play already. They had altogether 10 or 12 positive tests. That shows we create a society in which we just really make sure nothing will happen there.”