Liverpool fans urged to celebrate at home after mass gatherings

Liverpool fans have been urged to support the team from their homes as the club’s chief executive and city leaders seek to avoid a repeat of last week’s mass gatherings.

Thousands of fans celebrated outside Anfield last Thursday when the team won the Premier League for the first time in 30 years and huge numbers gathered at the city’s Pier Head the following night, where police reported violent confrontations.

Ahead of the team’s match against Aston Villa on Sunday, Liverpool FC CEO Peter Moore met representatives from the council, the police and supporters’ union Spirit Of Shankly at Anfield.

Mr Moore said: “We are delighted to have won this title, but as the manager has said, we will come together to celebrate properly – only when it is safe and secure to do so.

Liverpool FC are crowned the Premier League 2019/20 Champions
Thousands of fans gathered outside the Liver Building (Peter Byrne/PA)

“The club’s message for everybody is enjoy watching the team on TV and enjoy celebrating at home.”

Liverpool’s director of public health Matthew Ashton said: “Covid has affected the whole of the country, but Liverpool and Merseyside are some of the worst areas affected in terms of the number of deaths and serious illnesses.

“We need to be preventative – we need to stop people getting ill as much as we possibly can.

“The risk that we have seen over the last week or so of crowds getting together means there is the potential for the virus to start spreading again.”

Chief Constable of Merseyside Police Andy Cooke said: “We don’t want to have to go through that public health problem of mass gatherings across the city.

“We don’t want to put the most vulnerable across our society in danger because we think this is the right time to celebrate – it’s not!

“The time to celebrate is after this pandemic has gone and there will be plenty of time for that.”

Chairman of Spirit Of Shankly Joe Blott urged fellow supporters to celebrate in a different way.

He said: “We are still in a pandemic, it’s a bit surreal watching the game now with no fans and not being here (Anfield) – it feels unsettling in some ways – but that’s where we are.

“Let’s use this unique circumstance to celebrate in a different way.

“We have to protect our community – we have to protect ourselves and protect the NHS as well.

“What we don’t want to see is a similar situation to Leicester, or another spike and then further pressure on the NHS and really ruin what’s happened over recent weeks.”

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