Liverpool fans have been urged to stay at home and “be creative” with their Premier League title celebrations ahead of the club’s first home match since being confirmed as champions.
The Reds’ 30-year wait for a domestic title was ended less than a fortnight ago after rivals Man City lost to to Chelsea, sparking raucous scenes across Liverpool.
A number of fans gathered outside Anfield on the night, despite previous warnings to steer clear, before another gathering occurred on Friday at Pier Head in the city centre.
Since then Jurgen Klopp’s side have only played once – away from home – but welcome Aston Villa to Anfield on Sunday behind closed doors.
Liverpool Supporters Group, Spirit of Shankly (SOS), have been working closely with the club to help ward off fans from congregating outside the stadium, and have reaffirmed their message prior to Sunday’s fixture.
SOS chairman, Joe Blott, told Mirror Football : “Spirit of Shankly’s advice throughout this has been to avoid going to Anfield. It’s been consistent, avoid match days because there’s nothing to see, we’re in the middle of a pandemic and the reality is where Anfield is based is one of the poorest areas in Europe and we need to respect the local community.”
The group have condemned the actions of those involved in the incidents at Pier Head last Friday (June 26), but Mr Blott claimed the “overwhelming majority” of Liverpool fans have followed Government guidelines.
“The Friday night was something that was organised over social media, it wasn’t a match day,” he said. “We’ve obviously told people to stay away from match day, it was a social gathering and used Liverpool’s Premier League win really as a catalyst to get out.”
While Liverpool’s match with Villa this weekend bears little significance for the Merseyside club, their last home fixture of the season against Chelsea could be the night of their title coronation.
The match has now been confirmed to take place on the evening of Wednesday July 22, but Mr Blott sees no reason why fans would show up to the ground.
“I don’t think by the Chelsea game we’ll be out of it, the coronavirus [pandemic], so our message will be absolutely crystal clear and the same as it is now: stay home and celebrate differently.
“Even if the Chelsea game, if that’s the time we lift the trophy, there won’t be anything to see because it will be inside the stadium, fans won’t be allowed in, so let’s protect ourselves, our families, our communities, but most of all let’s protect the NHS and not have another spike in Liverpool unnecessarily.
“Certainly I’ll be with my family, normally I’m at the match, but actually it’s a positive to be with my family so I can celebrate that with them. So let’s use that as a positive to come out of this.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has already promised fans a “special celebration” and a “proper parade” when the time allows, but for now they must make do with celebrations at home, or at a safe social distance in the pubs that have now reopened.
Mr Blott explained how he and his family had even resorted to using technology to stay in touch and celebrate with friends, and suggested for others to think of ways to do the same.
“I sit next to my son at the game, so we’ve missed it together. We done the FaceTime on match night [City’s defeat to Chelsea] itself with people who we also go to the match with.
“We had a virtual Zoom meeting after the game to try and celebrate. It was good. It’s not normal but we’re trying to make it the new normal and that’s all we’ve got at the moment.
“Long may it be before we all get back together and celebrate together but it will be when it’s safe to do so. It’s not the way that we would have wanted to celebrate Liverpool’s 19th win, but at the end of the day it’s where we are and we have to do it differently so let’s be creative in terms of doing that.
“Some good people have almost created Anfield at home and had a really good go at making sure they stay safe and that’s the message.”
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