Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool would be wary of signing vulnerable players in the future as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the Premier League.
There has been a spike in positive cases among Premier League clubs fueled by the UK’s Omicron version, with six matches postponed this weekend, after Aston Villa’s match against Burnley on Saturday was cancelled.
The English Football Association (EFL) recently announced that 25% of its players from 72 clubs do not plan to be vaccinated against the emerging coronavirus.
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When asked at a press conference whether the player’s vaccination status would affect the club’s decision to sign him, Klopp replied: “Yes, it will be.
“Let’s take our situation, if the player is not vaccinated at all, he is a constant threat to all of us. Of course, he does not want to be a threat and not as he thinks: ‘I don’t care about others, but he is.’
“So, we have to find different scenarios. He’ll have to change in a different dressing room, eat in a different dining room, sit in a different bus or a different car. From the organization’s point of view, it’s a real mess.”
“If you really want to follow the protocols, it is very difficult to do that. If someone has had COVID and has been around in the past four days, he will be in isolation. If we have to travel to a country where we play international football and come back he has to self-isolate so of course he will have impact.
“So we’ll have to do additional build for the unvaccinated players and it won’t happen, and hopefully it won’t. Hopefully it won’t be necessary in the future.”
The latest Premier League data on players’ vaccination levels in mid-October showed that 81% of players had received at least one dose of vaccination with 68% vaccinated twice.
This is in contrast to the Italian Serie A, which announced that 98% of its players had received two vaccinations, but added that the league had no data on the percentage that received a third dose.
When asked if vaccinations should be mandatory, Klopp said: “It’s a matter of persuasion. I think it’s mandatory, from an ethical point of view, it should be mandatory for everyone I think, but not from a legal point of view.
“I don’t see it but from an ethical point of view because if I can do something that helps the people around me, it is mandatory for me. Obviously, people see it differently.
“I am 54 and I really believe that you can convince people of the right things to do, but I’m not sure in this specific case.
“England is in a much better place in terms of the vaccination rate than, say, Germany. It’s unbelievable how aggressive the anti-vaccination scene is and how clear it is that they know better than the rest of us.
“It’s really tricky, really tricky. But no, I don’t think it should be legally mandatory, but morally, yes.”
Liverpool travel to Tottenham on Sunday and will face a team that has not played a match since December 5 due to the COVID-19 outbreak among the coaching and playing staff.
Second-placed Liverpool will enter the match, one point behind the league leaders, Manchester City, after their 3-1 victory over Newcastle United in the middle of the week.
Information from Reuters is included in this report.