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Liverpool chairman Werner on virus delaying title


Tom Werner
 LIVERPOOL, May 22: The Premier League trophy should have been in Tom Werner’s hands by now. This week should have featured a victory parade through the streets of Liverpool.

But the wait to end the 30-year title drought continues.

Instead, Liverpool’s chairman is analysing the health procedures required just to ensure it is safe for his team to practise together again. Then further tentative steps can be taken on the path to resuming the season during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Reading through protocols I’m trying to absorb the words that I never thought I knew a month ago,” Werner says.

“Social distancing... all this stuff. The words particularly dreaded in the red half of Merseyside are null and void – if a decision is made to abandon the season with no champion declared.”

It took a global health emergency to halt Liverpool’s title charge. Jurgen Klopp’s team had surged an unprecedented 25 points clear before the league was abruptly suspended in March with nine games remaining.

“There’s a hole in so many people’s lives,” Werner told The Associated Press. “Football is central to their dreams and their hopes. And certainly, as regards Liverpool, we are playing magnificent football and we are just a couple of matches away from winning the trophy. But I do put it in perspective.”

Werner will next week be helping to fill the football void and provide some light relief when The First Team, a comedy series he has executive produced for the BBC, debuts on British screens.

“Especially right now, when there’s no live football. It will be a real tonic for people to have some entertainment that revolves around the football stories.”

But Werner hopes his real-life team will soon be back to entertaining too, by becoming the Premier League’s champions – if a little later than expected.

“There’s going be a tiny element of risk, but this is a very healthy group... and there’s going to be frequent testing,” Werner said.

“Most importantly, if the scientists and the government feel it’s unsafe, then there will be no football. But hopefully we can figure out a way to play.” – AP

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