June 19, 2020 / 2:13 PM / 20 days ago

Klopp feared for Liverpool title during lockdown

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said that he feared his team may have been denied the chance to win the league title by the coronavirus stoppage.

FILE PHOTO: Champions League - Round of 16 Second Leg - Liverpool v Atletico Madrid - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - March 11, 2020 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp looks dejected as he applauds the fans after the match REUTERS/Phil Noble

Liverpool were 25 points clear and just six points away from guaranteeing their first league title in 30 years when play was stopped in March.

Asked whether he was worried about being denied that triumph, Klopp said on Friday: “Honestly, yes.”

“When we went to lockdown I didn’t think about us being close for a second as it was not important in the moment,” he added.

“I became worried in the moment that people began speaking about ‘null and void’ and I felt it physically, that would’ve been really, really hard,” he said.

Some in the game, prominently West Ham United vice-chair Karren Brady, had argued that the season should be declared null and void with no title winner and no relegation.

The league, however, was able to resume on Wednesday and looks set to complete the season without any need for what would have been a bitter discussion about whether to void the campaign or decide issues on a points-per-game calculation.

“There were moments (I was worried) but when that was off the table I felt quite relieved. Now we are here. If we would have done points-per-game we would have been champions but now we are not and have to play for it, which is how it should be in sports.”

Liverpool will be aiming to get three of the six points they need in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on Sunday.

“It will be tough in the next few weeks. I hope I can enjoy it. We need to make sure we play again the best football we can play,” said Klopp.

Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Toby Davis

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