Klopp says return of fans a small step in right direction

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Champions League – Group D – Liverpool v Atalanta

LONDON (Reuters) – Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp welcomed the news that 2,000 fans will be allowed into Anfield starting from next month as a small step in the right direction on Friday.

The city of Liverpool has been placed under Tier 2 COVID-19 restrictions by the 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 United and those in the Midlands will not as they are in Tier 3 areas.

Liverpool’s game at Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday will be without fans, as the new measures come in next week. However, 2,000 fans will be permitted to attend Liverpool’s home game with Wolverhampton Wanderers next weekend.

Klopp was asked whether it would be an advantage for his title winners.

“I said before I knew which tier Liverpool would be in that’s it’s not about discussing the advantage or disadvantage of this or that,” he told a news conference.

“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.”

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Klopp was less happy, however, with the scheduling which means his side face Brighton in a 1230GMT kickoff on Saturday having played Atalanta in the Champions League on Wednesday.

“My thoughts about this are clear,” Klopp said. “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 (Weds/Sat).

“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 12.30, you have to ask other people why they do that. I don’t have the answer.”

Liverpool can go top if they avoid defeat at Brighton and Klopp is hopeful that skipper Jordan Henderson will be available after recovering from a muscle injury sustained playing for England against Belgium this month.

“Hendo trained yesterday as part of an individual session,” said Klopp, who will be without several key players including Mohamed Salah, Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk.

“Only a few days in between so we make late decisions. If you asked me my lineup, I couldn’t tell you. I have to wait for medical department to tell me.”

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