Liverpool FC fans warned not to repeat Anfield gatherings

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image copyrightEPA
image captionThousands of fans congregated at the club's Anfield stadium to celebrate the club's Premier League title

Police have urged Liverpool fans to not repeat the widespread gatherings that took place after the club's title win when the team lifts the Premier League trophy in a final home game.

The Reds face Chelsea at Anfield on Wednesday night in a home season finale for the champions.

Fans have been urged to celebrate at home amid fears of a fresh spike in Covid-19 infections.

Thirty-four people were injured - three seriously - as thousands of people turned up on the city's waterfront despite restrictions remaining in force, while other celebrations were held outside Anfield and in the city centre.

Merseyside Police Chief Constable Andy Cooke urged people to be responsible.

He said: "Please don't put yourselves, your loved ones and others at risk of contracting this virus by ignoring the current advice.

"My officers will take action if people fail to adhere to social distancing regulations and potentially put other members of the public at risk."

image copyrightAFP
image captionThe club collected its first top-flight league title in 30 years

Assistant Chief Constable Natalie Perischine said: "On this occasion, the best seat in the house is in your living room.

"We are all still in unprecedented times due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the last thing anyone wants is a resurgence of cases in Merseyside, with every life lost a tragedy.

"The last thing anyone wants is for all Merseyside's patience and selflessness to unravel and for lockdown measures to be reintroduced, as we have seen in other areas."

The force confirmed a "comprehensive and appropriate policing operation" had been put in place ahead of the game, with officers on duty at the ground and in the surrounding area.

"We will also have additional measures we can introduce if necessary, including road management and dispersal orders," said Ass Ch Con Perischine.

'Stay at home'

Matt Ashton, director of public health at Liverpool City Council, warned the "threat of a second lockdown is very real" and urged fans to celebrate responsibly.

Joe Blott, chairman of the Spirit of Shankly supporters group, said he "understands how hard and frustrating it is to stay away from Anfield".

"But I also know it is one of the most deprived areas in Europe with significant health inequalities," he said.

"The overwhelming majority of fans have so far heeded public-health advice and I hope supporters will continue to stay at home and not put themselves or others at risk unnecessarily."

Liverpool CEO Peter Moore added: "It's critical that we all get behind the city's public health advice to keep Liverpool safe.

"The Premier League trophy presentation will be happening inside the stadium and, contrary to reports, nothing is happening outside of the stadium.

"When the time is right, we will all come together to celebrate."

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