LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has welcomed the news that 2,000 fans will be allowed into Anfield, starting from next month, as a small step in the right direction.
The city of Liverpool has been placed under Tier 2 Covid-19 restrictions by the British government, paving the way for a limited return of fans for the first time since March.
While London clubs will also be permitted to allow fans back in small numbers next month, many Premier League clubs including Manchester United, Manchester City, Newcastle and those in the Midlands will not as they are in Tier 3 areas.
Liverpool’s game at Brighton & Hove Albion today will be without fans, as the new measures come into effect next week.
However, 2,000 fans will be permitted to attend Liverpool’s home game with Wolverhampton Wanderers next weekend.
Asked at his virtual press conference yesterday whether it would be an advantage for his title winners, Klopp said: “I said before I knew which tier Liverpool would be in, it’s not about discussing the advantage or disadvantage of this or that.
“It’s making small steps in the right direction. I’m happy that we can bring in 2,000 people, nobody knows how long we will be able to do that, but I think we should discuss not on the basis of an advantage for this or that team.
“The world is in a difficult place and we all wait for small steps. This is a small step in the right direction.”
Klopp was less happy, however, with the scheduling which means his side face the Seagulls in an early kick-off today, having played Atalanta in the Champions League on Wednesday.
“My thoughts about this are clear,” said the German, who blasted broadcaster Sky Sports earlier in the week for “not caring” about his players’ welfare.
“It’s not the time to think about it now. I have to prepare for it. Looks like until end of year, it is only us (playing Wednesday, then Saturday).
It’s making small steps in the right direction. I’m happy that we can bring in 2,000 people.
“Whatever I say doesn’t help, so I stop talking. It’s just a waste of time. In this moment, we play in 25 hours and I have to prepare a team.
“Wednesday-Saturday 12.30pm, you have to ask other people why they do that. I don’t have the answer.”
The Reds can go top if they avoid defeat at the Amex Stadium and Klopp is hopeful that skipper Jordan Henderson will be available, after recovering from a muscle injury picked up playing for England against Belgium earlier this month.
“Hendo trained yesterday as part of an individual session,” said Klopp, who will be without Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Xherdan Shaqiri and long-term absentees Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk.
“Only a few days in between, so we make late decisions. If you asked me my line-up, I couldn’t tell you. I have to wait for the medical department to tell me.”
On the reunion with Brighton midfielder Adam Lallana, who departed Anfield in the summer, Klopp joked: “We still miss him… he is our friend for life… but not this week!”
BRIGHTON V LIVERPOOL
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