Klopp feared null-and-void season as Liverpool await title glory

Omnisport

The prospect of runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool being derailed by a null-and-void season verdict played on Jurgen Klopp's mind during the Premier League shutdown.

Klopp's men begin what will surely be a victory lap when they resume their campaign away to local rivals Everton on Sunday, with just five more points required from nine matches to secure a first title in 30 years.

When glory arrives it will do so amid the unprecedented circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic and matches played behind closed doors up and down the country.

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Top-flight clubs thrashed out the terms of "Project Restart" over the course of a number of meetings, with Klopp satisfied by the conclusion reached.

Indeed, he told a pre-match news conference, that only the suggestion of null and void being an option made him queasy.

"Honestly yes," he replied when asked whether he had been worried Liverpool would not get the chance to complete the job on the field.

"When we started lockdown, I didn't think for one second 'oh my God, that's our season, we were so close'. Not for a second because it was not important in that moment.

"I became worried when people started talking about null and void the season. It was like 'wow'. That would have been really, really hard.

"We don't expect to get presents so we didn't want to have it on a point-per-game basis. I was really happy when it was decided we could play again.

"But there were moments during the discussions when people brought [null and void] up for different reasons. When that was off the table then I felt quite relieved.

"If they would have done the points per game then we would have probably by now been champions. We aren't, we have to play for it. That's great, that's how it should be in sports. And now, we go for it."

Klopp set up a WhatsApp group for his players during lockdown and revealed a decent chunk of his time had been spent overseeing their Zoom yoga sessions.

Through those channels and others, the camaraderie of a close-knit squad has shone through.

"We are in the situation we are in the table and performance-wise over the last couple of years, only because of the boys – the togetherness of the group and the character of the individuals. I'm not surprised about that," he said.

"It was just like it always was. We didn't tell them to stay in contact, they wanted to stay in contact. That's a massive difference.

"We organised some things and gave them opportunities to be together, the training sessions especially. They did a lot of yoga. Zoom sessions were a lot of times yoga.

"The Friday before lockdown I told the boys we would create a WhatsApp group. I wanted everyone to use it as an opportunity for us There are no secrets. The boys can write to each other – it's for all of us.

"That's what we did and it was really lively."

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