Monday brought plenty of news about the resumption of the Premier League, following the UK government’s easing of lockdown restrictions and ‘roadmap’ for the next steps.
Among the most significant news items from a Liverpool perspective, was that the FA have told the Premier League that they will NOT allow the 2019/20 season to be ‘null and void’ – or for no relegation to take place.
Finally, the ‘null and void’ argument is firmly ruled out.
And there could be further significant news to follow this week, with the Premier League now set to ask the government to reconsider their directive over neutral venues and instead allow teams to use their own stadiums as-per the regular fixtures.
A statement from the Premier League on Monday evening confirmed that one of the outcomes of Monday’s meeting of the Premier League clubs was to attempt to remove the use of neutral stadiums:
The issue of where the remaining Premier League matches would be played was also discussed, with the possibility of using neutral venues raised. But Masters stressed that the Shareholders’ desire was to complete the season playing matches at their originally scheduled venues.
“Obviously it is the preference of all our clubs to play at home if at all possible,” [Premier League Chief Executive Richard] Masters said. “It is an ongoing dialogue and we’ve been talking to the authorities about the conditions in which we could get the Premier League back up and running and are taking all that advice on board.”
Of course, either way the games will be played behind-closed-doors with no supporters in attendance, but this could mean that Liverpool will at least be able to win the Premier League at Anfield.
When football does return the fixtures will remain in the same order, and with Liverpool requiring six more points that would mean victory away to Everton and at home to Crystal Palace would see them win the title at Anfield against Palace.
However, after such an incredible season, the thought of winning the title in an empty stadium is, of course, anti-climatic.
This past weekend would have been when Liverpool would have received the Premier League trophy after the final home game of the season, against Chelsea.
The use of neutral stadiums was initiated after Britain’s senior football police officer, Mark Roberts, claimed supporters may congregate outside empty stadiums otherwise.
Brighton have been one of the most vocal clubs against the idea of using neutral stadiums.
Meanwhile, as part of the UK government’s ‘roadmap’ for the next steps to come out of lockdown, it is detailed that sporting events will be able to resume from June 1 – if all goes to plan.
The government are said to have given the green light to the Premier League resuming on June 12 (behind closed doors).
A meeting on Tuesday between the Premier League and the sports minister could reveal more details and allow for teams to returning to training in groups.
Some Liverpool players, including Virgil van Dijk, James Milner, Andy Robertson and Takumi Minamino were at the club’s Melwood training ground on Monday morning to take part in individual training sessions separately.
And finally, the government’s signalling for the construction industry to return to work while obeying social distancing measures means work on the Reds’ new training facility in Kirkby will resume this week.