Jurgen Klopp gives spiky response to question on coronavirus and travel

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Jurgen Klopp accepts matches may have to be played behind closed doors in England if the coronavirus spread escalates but is unsure what effect it would have.

Matches in Serie A and LaLiga have been suspended, Ligue 1 games must be behind closed doors or in front of no more than 1,000 spectators while individual fixtures in the Champions League and Europa League are also being played without crowds.

Such a measure has yet to be implemented in this country and Klopp said he was not sure whether it would be effective even if it was.

“There are things that are more important than football. I think we realise that again in this moment,” he said.

“What we need is time to find a solution for that. How can we win that time? By avoiding different situations.

“I don’t know enough about how much it would help with [closing off] football games.

“The problem with football games is if you are not in the stadiums, then you go watch it closely together in rooms and I’m not sure which is better in this case, to be honest.

“We all have families, we are parents, we have kids and friends. Whatever will be decided, we will respect, but I don’t know how much sense it will make.

“If people think it will help, then we will do it.”

The Liverpool manager, speaking ahead of their Champions League last-16 second leg against Atletico Madrid, was asked by a journalist from Spain whether he was concerned about infection for his players in a contact sport.

It provoked an animated response from the German.

“You flew from Madrid to here. So stay there—they’ve closed schools and you’re obviously concerned but you think football is worth it to travel,” he said.

“That’s our common problem—we play football, but we cannot stop [the spread of the virus] with football.

“Playing football is just a game. We are not the society, we are only are part of society and we should all be worried in the same time.”

On the potential effect on his players, Klopp added: “In this moment, they are all healthy. Why should we worry? What we do by not shaking hands is sending a sign.

“It’s good for you, it’s good for me, that we don’t shake hands now. It’s important that 22 completely healthy players are sending this sign for society.”

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