Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson says resuming the Premier League is a “non-starter”, and he fears a “farcical” situation with fans congregating outside Anfield – even if Liverpool clinch the title at a neutral venue.
The Premier League has told its clubs only “approved venues” will be used, raising the possibility of matches being played at neutral grounds.
Although Liverpool is chasing its first title for 30 years, Liverpool now leads the table by 25 points with nine games remaining, while the league hopes to restart on 8 June.
The national lead for football policing said on Wednesday that playing all remaining Premier League and EFL fixtures at their original venues would “present challenges” to the emergency services.
Deputy chief constable Mark Roberts said “options” need to be looked at.
Anderson, Liverpool’s first directly elected mayor, told BBC Sport, “Even if it was behind closed doors, there’d be many thousands of people who would turn up outside Anfield.”
“There’s not many people who would respect what we were saying and stay away from the ground, a lot of people would come to celebrate so I think it’s a non-starter.”
When he was asked whether playing at a neutral venue would help, he said, “even then, I guess that a lot of people would turn up outside Anfield to celebrate and I understand the police’s concerns around that, so there’s a real difficulty here for us.”
“I think it would be really difficult for the police to keep people apart and maintain social distancing if they were going to celebrate outside Anfield, it would be farcical. It’s difficult for us to try to stop people from gathering in parks when the weather has been good, especially young people. And I fear people would just ignore it.“
“The police are right to be concerned about that as we are here in the city, and pubic health officials are also concerned about that, so we’d ask the Premier League and government to take into account all of these concerns that we have.“
Anderson added, “I think the best thing to do is to actually end the season.“
“It isn’t just about Liverpool – they’ve clearly won the league – they deserve it, they should be crowned league champions. The bottom line is, though, this is about health and safety and people’s lives and I think football should have to come second in regards to making a choice here.“
Currently, more than 300 people have died from Coronavirus in Liverpool hospitals.