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Winning words from Kop boss

OPINION: Jurgen Klopp is right, anybody worrying about when the next football match is going to be played probably has the wrong priorities right now

20 March, 2020 — By Richard Osley

“FIRST and foremost, all of us have to do whatever we can to protect one another,” said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp as the Premier League was put on hold. “In society, I mean. This should be the case all the time in life, but in this moment I think it matters more than ever. I’ve said before that football always seems the most important of the least important things. Today, football and football matches really aren’t important at all.”

He was immediately roundly praised by the easily pleased for his sage advice, as if somehow people had actually expected him to come out raging from the news that Mikel Arteta had suffered a positive coronavirus test with a grumpy message about how this would mean the title party at Anfield would be delayed. No need, of course, there’s always Kenny Dalglish and John Aldridge doing the rounds to tell us that they can’t cancel the season – not now.

Of course, the Liverpool-leaning pundits who have rushed to demand that the season gets finished have been provoked by those musing about the rotten luck of waiting 30 – THIRTY, as a vidiprinter would spell it out – years for a league title victory, only to find a global pandemic shuts everything down.

But still, Klopp is right, anybody worrying about when the next football match is going to be played probably has the wrong priorities right now. This crisis is going to get worse and the banter is quickly not going to seem so funny, as Dele Alli found out when he apologised for mocking China on social media when the virus was rife there earlier this year.

Besides, there’s no fun in the prospect of winning a title behind closed doors or at a time when people suddenly can’t afford to buy a match ticket if they are ever allowed back in. No, instead of thinking about which new player they might buy for £50m a pop this summer, rich football clubs should all agree to pay a share to the relief effort which is going to be needed in this country.

If every team agreed to sell a valuable but lightly used squad player and donate the takings, we’d have more protective masks for our NHS workers. Today, football matches really aren’t important at all.

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