Ahead of the Reds’ match against Aston Villa on Sunday July 5, Liverpool FC CEO Peter Moore and key city partners met at Anfield to reiterate the importance of supporting the team and celebrating safely from home.
Peter Moore was joined by Deputy Mayor of Liverpool Councillor Wendy Simon, Liverpool City Council’s Director for Public Health Matt Ashton, Chief Constable of Merseyside Police Andy Cooke and Joe Blott, chair of Liverpool FC’s supporters union, Spirit of Shankly, who shared their thoughts on the impact of COVID-19 on society and the importance of following government and social distancing guidelines at this time.
Deputy Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Wendy Simon said: “The last three months have been really challenging for the city. We’ve been hit with something our society has never experienced and how we behave and respond makes a real difference to people’s lives.
“Merseyside in particular and the North West do have a [R] high rate, so we need everyone in Liverpool to stay on guard and follow guidance to make sure we protect other people as well as ourselves and our loved ones.”
Matt Ashton, Director of Public Health, Liverpool City Council, reiterated this point, appealing for people to avoid crowds and prevent the virus from spreading. He said: “COVID has affected the whole of the country, but Liverpool and Merseyside are some of the worst areas affected in terms of the number of deaths and serious illnesses.
“We need to be preventative – we need to stop people getting ill as much as we possibly can. The risk that we have seen over the last week or so of crowds getting together means there is the potential for the virus to start spreading again.”
Andy Cooke, Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, added: “We don’t want to have to go through that public health problem of mass gatherings across the city.
“We don’t want to put the most vulnerable across our society in danger because we think this is the right time to celebrate – it’s not! The time to celebrate is after this pandemic has gone and there will be plenty of time for that.”
Joe Blott, chair of Spirit of Shankly, appealed to supporters to celebrate in a different way and to protect our communities and the NHS. He commented: “We are still in a pandemic, it’s a bit surreal watching the game now with no fans and not being here [Anfield] – it feels unsettling in some ways – but that’s where we are. Let’s use this unique circumstance to celebrate in a different way.
“We have to protect our community, we have to protect ourselves and protect the NHS as well. What we don’t want to see is a similar situation to Leicester or another spike and then further pressure on the NHS and really ruin what’s happened over recent weeks.”
LFC supporters have been really supportive on matchdays and the overwhelming majority of fans have observed the need to avoid mass gatherings and maintained social distancing.
Peter Moore, Liverpool FC CEO, said: “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. The club’s message for everybody is enjoy watching the team on TV and enjoy celebrating at home.”