• Lloris: It would be cruel to deny Liverpool the title

    Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris

    Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris says it would be “cruel” for Liverpool to be denied the Premier League title because of the coronavirus pandemic, stressing that players and clubs want the 2019-20 season to be concluded.

    Liverpool were just two wins away from their first title in 30 years when the Premier League, like all major leagues across Europe, shut down in March because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

    France’s Ligue 1 and Netherlands’ Eredivisie have already declared their seasons over in response to the pandemic, but the Premier League, Spain’s LaLiga and Italy’s Serie A remain determined to resume when safe to do so.

    Clubs have discussed the possibility of resumption in June, though games would almost certainly be behind closed doors and possibly at neutral venues in an effort to comply with government restrictions on large gatherings.

    Even that prospect relies on government approval and meeting strict safety guidelines, meaning the prospect of having to end the season in some other fashion remains real.

    Lloris hopes it does not come down to that, particularly for Liverpool, who are 25 points clear of nearest rivals Manchester City at the top of the table.

    “We are in a situation where everyone wants to finish and have the verdict of the field,” the France international told L’Equipe.

    “It would be terrible if everything ended like that nine days before the end of the Premier League. It would also be cruel for Liverpool with the lead they have. They are almost champions.

    “As with everyone, there would be a taste of unfinished business. In addition, we are entering the most exciting period, the most beautiful moment of the season. Nobody wants it to end like this.”

    Though he remains in favour of finishing the season, Lloris admits playing behind closed doors would not be ideal and take away much of what makes the game so special, even if it is the only safe way for the game to restart.

    “It will be weird wherever it happens. Football is not a sport behind closed doors. Without spectators, it is not the same discipline,” he added.

    “This is not how I see football. We are here to gather, share our emotions. We all want full stadiums, with atmosphere, fans, colour and songs. But here, we must take the context into consideration.

    “There are major and economic issues that need to be understood at the level of clubs and federations. Everyone has to find the right compromise between health above all else and the need to finish this season.”

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