Fears of coronavirus rise as LFC fans warned ahead of trophy lift

Liverpool fans have been urged not to gather outside Anfield as their team lift the Premier League trophy tomorrow evening, with fears about a rise in coronavirus cases and a potential further lockdown.

The Reds will lift the trophy after a 30-year-wait following tomorrow night's match against Chelsea at Anfield.

Fans will sadly not be in the famous ground to watch captain Jordan Henderson hold the famous trophy aloft because of the coronavirus social distancing rules.

And now the city's key organisations are urging fans not to gather outside the stadium because of the threat that still exists from Covid-19.

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Merseyside Police, Liverpool City Council, Liverpool FC and supporters group Spirit of Shankly have all made a unified plea for fans to watch the historic moment from the safety of their own homes.

Assistant Chief Constable Natalie Perischine of Merseyside Police warned about the dangers of the virus and the potential for further lockdown measures in the city if there is a spike in cases.

She said: "We are all still in unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the last thing anyone wants is a resurgence of cases in Merseyside, with every life lost a tragedy.

"The last thing anyone wants is for all Merseyside’s patience and selflessness to unravel and for lockdown measures to be reintroduced, as we have seen in other areas."

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She added: "This is such an important night for all Liverpool fans in the city and worldwide, with the Premier League trophy to be lifted inside the stadium. The club and TV companies have made careful preparations to ensure that millions of people can enjoy these special moments on screen, in the comfort of their homes.
“On this occasion, the best seat in the house is in your living room. There is simply no benefit to going to the ground and we as a city cannot afford for people to gather in large numbers."

Liverpool were named champions on June 25 after Manchester City lost to Chelsea, the result saw fans gather at Anfield on the night, with a large-scale gathering at the Pier Head the following night widely condemned after scenes of violence and anti-social behaviour broke out.

The city's Public Health Director Matt Ashton, who has been working hard to stamp out small rises of cases in the city in recent weeks, warned fans that the threat of a second lockdown here is 'very real.'

He said: "This week, Liverpool Football Club will celebrate their magnificent achievements in what has undoubtedly been a stand-out but strange season.

"We know fans will be eager to celebrate Liverpool FC lifting the Premiership trophy but they need to do this responsibly. The Coronavirus is still in circulation within our communities so it is vital that we continue to avoid large gatherings, to protect each other, our families and the NHS.

"The threat of a second lockdown is very real. Fortunately the trophy ceremony is free to watch on TV. Hopefully the city will be able to mark this achievement more publically in the near future. Until then, avoid any big crowds and enjoy the reds being crowned Premier League champions.”

Liverpool FC's Chief Executive Officer confifrmed that nothing is being planned in terms of a celebration outside the ground and asked fans to celebrate at home.

He said: "Our priority remains on the health and wellbeing of our people, the local community and supporters. We know that winning the Premier League is bringing joy to fans during these challenging times but it’s critical that we all get behind the city’s public health advice to keep Liverpool safe.
“The Premier League trophy presentation will be happening inside the stadium and, contrary to reports, nothing is happening outside of the stadium. When the time is right, we will all come together to celebrate but, for now, we are asking fans to keep themselves and their families safe by celebrating at home.”

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Joe Blott, Chair of Spirit of Shankly, issued a similar message, stating: "This week Jordan Henderson will finally lift the Premier League trophy. Spirit of Shankly wish to congratulate him, the team, and Jürgen Klopp and his management team on this fantastic achievement.
"I desperately want to see the trophy lift and I understand how hard and frustrating it is to stay away from Anfield but I also know it is one of the most deprived areas in Europe with significant health inequalities.

"The overwhelming majority of fans have so far heeded public-health advice and I hope supporters will continue to stay at home and not put themselves or others at risk unnecessarily."

Merseyside Police said a 'comprehensive and appropriate' policing operation will be in place for the game, including mounted police and the dog section.

ACC Perischine added: “We will also have additional measures we can introduce if necessary, including road management and Dispersal Orders, and this is again to ensure that people are kept safe and discouraged from the risks of gathering.
“Unfortunately, as we have seen throughout the lockdown period, members of the public haven’t always adhered to the regulations in place. But this is our opportunity to all show the rest of the country, and the world, why this city is revered for its ability to come together in challenging times and do the right thing.”