Covid chaos leads Klopp to demand action to tackle anti-vaxx players | Liverpool

It is the time of year when conversations revolve around one topic and for football managers this is the January transfer period. Liverpool’s recruitment strategy has been much admired in recent years, but this time the question for Jurgen Klopp was not about revealing another Mohamed Salah, but simply whether he would hesitate to bring in a vulnerable player.

With the coronavirus wreaking havoc on the fixture list, the Liverpool boss has set a future where refusing a vaccine could be a bigger problem than it’s worth: as a threat to his teammates, creating a two-tier system when he has to be separated from the rest of the squad and a logistical nightmare because the need for quarantine can… That excludes him from many games.

“We’re not close to signing a player but I’ve thought about it and yes, it will definitely be impactful,” Klopp said. His friend Stephen Gerrard, Aston Villa manager, expressed similar sentiments. If Klopp has a politics of licking at jobs, vaccinations could shape the future of his side.

Liverpool are rare, with the vaccine being taken at 100% and reinforcements encouraged once everyone is eligible. It is a simplification to say that it gives them full protection from the call-ups as Virgil van Dijk, Curtis Jones and Fabinho missed Thursday’s win over Newcastle after scoring positive side-flow tests. But while anti-vaccination opponents elsewhere appear to be partly to blame for the delays, Liverpool are set to face Tottenham on Sunday. That’s why Klopp wants to trust Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Salah as potential teammates for Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

“If a player is not vaccinated at all, he is a constant threat to all of us,” Klopp said. “He doesn’t want to be a threat. It doesn’t mean that he’s thinking: ‘I don’t care about others.’ But he [a threat] We have to find different scenarios. He has to change in a different dressing room, he has to eat in a different dining room, he has to sit in a different bus, he has to drive a different car: from an organizational point of view, it gets really messy. “

As an annual Champions League participant with a team of players representing their countries, Liverpool must be more aware of most non-vaccinated quarantine regulations, as well as contacts of those who test positive.

“If you really want to follow protocols, it’s very difficult to do,” Klopp said.

“If anyone [player] He gets covid and he [the unvaccinated player] He’s been around for the past four days, he’ll be in seclusion. If we have to travel to a country to play international football and come back, he has to self-isolate. Of course it will have an effect. We have to do all these things, like build additional buildings for players who are not invulnerable and it won’t happen.”

Almost all of the Premier League’s 20 managers will gather on Monday to discuss the latest Covid crisis in the game after the weekend when six top-flight matches were called off. A circuit break may not solve anything if Omicron is still a risk within a few weeks.

Klopp fears removing matches now could lead to a backlog later in the season. His answer lies in part with honesty. He has been consistent in calling for more transparency. While other clubs have a haze of secrecy around players and issues, Liverpool were quick to confirm the identities of their trio on Thursday.

The irony is that many of his fellow administrators, whose job it is to tell players what to do, refused to instruct the accusations on an issue of paramount importance. Klopp is a decision maker who does not evade making a decision. An outspoken defender of vaccination, he has brought moral leadership as well as in football.

“I trust the experts,” he wrote in his program notes Thursday. “I follow the advice of smart, educated people who know their field because they have devoted their lives to it and have studied it.”

Belief in experts, be it a coach or a nutritionist, has served well in management. The feeling now is that many players at other clubs have instead shown faith in conspiracy theorists or trusted in the strength of their own bodies.

A quarter of EFL players do not intend to get vaccinated. In contrast, 93% of their La Liga counterparts have antibodies and another 4%. Serie A and Serie A are believed to have similarly high numbers, and while delays affect the fixture schedule here this weekend, they are quite rare abroad. This seems an exceptionally unfortunate case in England; Klopp, a critic of Brexit, may discover a topic.

Anti-vaccination in the Premier League could become an even more pressing problem for the elite in the FA Cup in January. Liverpool host Shrewsbury, whose manager Steve Cottrell has spent nearly 50 days in hospital with coronavirus. Despite this, not all of his squad were vaccinated. Klopp is relieved that the draw at Anfield is on and thinking of those at risk in the more narrow confines of lower league grounds.

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“We go there [Shrewsbury] To an away game in the FA Cup and a change in the really small locker rooms, that was the situation last year.” “We play with a team in the Football League at home but the others are away and I’m not sure how to sort it out. Not 100% thought of. “

Another season became an obstacle course. It calls for more leadership, not just from Klopp. “Not only [about] Stop the league or continue as usual.” “There are things in between that we have to sort out.”

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