SALZBURG, AUSTRIA - Tuesday, August 25, 2020: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the pre-match warm-up before a preseason friendly match between FC Red Bull Salzburg and Liverpool FC at the Red Bull Arena. (Pic by Propaganda)

Jurgen Klopp welcomes “small steps in right direction” on fans’ return to Anfield

Football fans are hoping to be back into several stadiums around England over the coming weeks, but already debate is centred around a perceived advantage rather than the fact it’s a positive step towards normality.

The news this week from the government over a return to open-air sporting venues and the limited numbers in each part of the country depending on which ‘lockdown tier’ each town or city is in means Anfield could host up to 2,000 fans.

But while London, for example, joins Liverpool in Tier 2, Manchester remains in Tier 3 – where no spectators would be allowed at this time.

Rather than focusing on the fact that the lockdown measures and mass testing recently have had a positive impact on society as a whole in some areas, the squabbles have already begun over ‘fairness’ and ‘integrity’ once again.

Jurgen Klopp has managed to keep a sense of perspective, though, telling reporters in his pre-Brighton press conference that the positives of the situation should be taken after an extremely difficult year across the world.

“We are all really waiting for little steps in the right direction, not only in football but in all parts of life,” he said.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 22, 2020: Liverpool’s manager Jürgen Kloppduring the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“This thing with Tier 1, 2 and 3 is the best idea we have at the moment in this country. I understand there are some discussions of why it will be an advantage for some clubs.

“It’s not about an advantage, it’s about small steps in the right direction.

“I’m happy we can bring in 2000 people, nobody knows how long for and I don’t know which game will be the first, but I think we should discuss it on the basis not just of an advantage or disadvantage for this team or that team.

“The world is in a difficult place, we all wait for small steps and it is a small step in the right direction. That’s how I see it.”

Anfield has not hosted fans since the Champions League defeat to Atletico Madrid in March, while the city as a whole has been in restricted lockdown again of late.

Perhaps common sense will prevail on this occasion and supporters will be gradually let back in to start enjoying games once more – especially as we can already expect the predictable grumbles about precisely who gets to attend matches first with such limited numbers available.