July 3, 2020 / 12:36 PM / a month ago

Liverpool reiterate need for safe celebrations ahead of Villa clash

(Reuters) - Liverpool have again urged their supporters to avoid mass gatherings in the city and to celebrate their Premier League triumph safely at home in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, chief executive Peter Moore said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Liverpool fans celebrate winning the Premier League - Liverpool, Britain - June 25, 2020 Liverpool fans celebrate winning the Premier League outside Anfield after Chelsea won their match against Manchester City REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

Liverpool’s 30-year wait for their 19th English top-flight crown ended last week when Manchester City lost at Chelsea and thousands of fans turned up at their Anfield stadium to celebrate.

Local media reported that fans launched fireworks at the Royal Liver Building, with a fire breaking out on the balcony of the landmark owned by Farhad Moshiri, the majority shareholder of the side’s local rivals Everton.

Liverpool, Merseyside police and the City Council issued a statement condemning the “wholly unacceptable” behaviour, while manager Juergen Klopp requested supporters stay at home and avoid spoiling the work done in containing the outbreak.

“We are delighted to have won this title, but as the manager has said, we will come together to celebrate properly – only when it is safe and secure to do so,” Moore said ahead of Sunday’s clash against Aston Villa.

“The club’s message for everybody is enjoy watching the team on TV and enjoy celebrating at home.”

Merseyside Police said fans will have plenty of time to celebrate after the pandemic is under control.

“We don’t want to have to go through that public health problem of mass gatherings across the city,” Merseyside Police Chief Constable Andy Cooke said. “The time to celebrate is after this pandemic has gone.”

The Liverpool supporters’ union appealed to fans to find different ways of celebrating their triumph.

“It’s still a bit surreal watching the game now with no fans, it feels unsettling in some ways but that’s where we are. Let’s use this unique circumstance to celebrate in a different way,” Joe Blott, Chair of Spirit of Shankly added.

Britain has one of the world’s highest death tolls from COVID-19, with more than 43,500 fatalities.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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