Soccer-Klopp urges Premier League to keep going despite rising COVID-19 cases


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Newcastle United v Liverpool - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - December 30, 2020 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp Pool via REUTERS/Peter Powell

(Reuters) - Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp believes the Premier League must avoid implementing a "circuit-breaker" shutdown to help reduce COVID-19 infections, saying the safety measures in place will ensure the competition is not affected.

West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce had earlier this week called for a temporary suspension of the league following a record number of positive cases in a week.

The surge in infections led to the postponement of Everton's clash with Manchester City on Monday and Tottenham Hotspur's home game against Fulham two days later.

Klopp is ready to put Liverpool's title defence on hold if needed but stressed the role football can play in these uncertain times.

"It is understandable (to have concerns), but we try to do everything to keep the boys as safe as possible and I think the competition can go on," Klopp told reporters ahead of Monday's trip to Southampton.

"People want to watch it and, in this case, we are not part of society because usually we isolate, we go to the training ground and stuff like that, so I think we really can carry on.

"But I am not a specialist and I respect all the decisions made in the next few weeks."

Klopp said he will not look back at 2020 with much fondness despite Liverpool ending their 30-year wait to secure a top-flight title.

"What happened in 2020 was a new experience for all of us - we had to deal with it and we are still dealing with it," he said.

"We will face a few more challenges in life and I'm happy 2020 is over. Apart from becoming champions it is not a year I will think a lot about in the future."

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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