Jurgen Klopp has hit out at the behaviour of Liverpool supporters after thousands gathered around Anfield and in the city centre following their historic title win.
Supporters had been told to stay at home and adhere to the government’s social-distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic, but those warnings were ignored by large numbers of fans, many of whom had been waiting 30 years to see their side crowned champions.
Thousands of Liverpool fans gathered outside Anfield to celebrate their title win last Thursday
More than 1,000 fans gathered in the city centre and police confirmed 15 arrests were made
The celebrations stretched into Friday evening, with trouble breaking out around Pier Head when missiles were thrown at police during scuffles with officers. A total of 15 people were arrested.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, claimed that 300 fans had fought with police for over two hours on Friday evening, while the streets were left littered with rubbish the following morning.
A 19-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of arson after fireworks were launched at the Liver Building – now the city HQ of bitter rivals Everton – which caused £10,000 of damage.
Now Klopp has had his say on the celebrations, telling fans they should not risk the spread of the deadly disease despite their joy at Liverpool’s incredible season.
Police were assaulted and struck by missiles by Liverpool supporters on Friday night as fans gathered to celebrate winning the league title in the city centre
One fan was detained (left) and that caused anger among fellow fans who wanted him let go
Police have urged more understanding of the need to adhere to social distancing rules
In an open letter to The Liverpool Echo, he wrote: ‘What I did not love – and I have to say this – was the scenes that took place at the Pier Head on Friday.
‘I am a human being and your passion is also my passion but right now the most important thing is that we do not have these kind of public gatherings.
‘We owe it to the most vulnerable in our community, to the health workers who have given so much and whom we have applauded and to the police and local authorities who help us as a club not to do this.
‘Please – celebrate – but celebrate in a safe way and in private settings, whereby we do not risk spreading this awful disease further in our community.
‘If things were different I would love nothing more than to celebrate together, to have a parade that would be even bigger than the one after we won the Champions League last year, so that we could all share this special moment but it just is not possible.
Jurgen Klopp has asked Liverpool supporters to calm down and stop their mass gatherings
Following the mass gathering, there was a deluge of litter strewn across the city centre
‘We have all done so much to fight COVID-19 and this effort cannot go to waste. We owe it to ourselves and each other to do what is right and at this moment that means being together and being there for one another by being apart.’
In a statement released on Saturday, Chief Constable Andy Cooke said: ‘One man was arrested for assault after another man suffered head injuries. The injured male was taken to hospital where he remains in a serious condition. Two officers also suffered minor injuries after missiles were thrown at them by people in the crowd.
‘The crowds dispersed from the Pier Head at around 1:30am. But soon after there were reports of further crowd issues in other parts of the city centre. Officers intervened but again missiles were thrown at them.
‘In total 15 people, at the Pier Head and in the city centre, were arrested for various offences including public order offences, drunk and disorderly and affray.’
The gatherings, which included one outside Anfield on Thursday night after the league title was confirmed, have been condemned with a frustration at the disregard for social distancing amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
‘I cannot stress enough that these gatherings put an unnecessary strain on our emergency services and could mean that we might not be able to get to other people who really need us,’ Cooke added.
Fans congregated outside Anfield on Thursday to toast the Premier League title win
Liverpool’s players celebrated their league title triumph at Formby Hall on Thursday evening
‘In the coming days we will be reviewing CCTV and Body Worn Camera footage to identify those involved in criminal and anti social behaviour and we will be issuing images through the media to find those responsible. I would urge anyone who has any information about those involved to contact us.
‘We are still in a public health crisis and we need to work together with the public of Merseyside to prevent the further spread of Covid-19.’
After sharing a video of the trouble on Friday night, Mayor Anderson added in the police statement: ‘An occasion for celebration has been turned instead into headlines of disgraceful behaviour.
‘Our city is, rightly, proud of the phenomenal success of one of our football teams. But the time for public celebration in crowds is not now. Our city remains in the grip of a major public health crisis and this behaviour is wholly unacceptable. Let me be clear – lives are at risk.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said he was left heartbroken by the ‘disgusting behaviour’
‘Seeing thousands of people congregating at the Pier Head into the early hours and the ugly scenes shared on social media afterwards was heartbreaking to see. Fireworks, flares and tons of litter, amount to nothing but disrespect for our city.
‘This mindless behaviour has the potential to damage Liverpool’s reputation – both the club’s and the city. I don’t believe this is how the team would like their achievement to be remembered.’
Liverpool had earlier put out a joint statement with police and the council in which they condemned supporters failing to abide by social-distancing rules.
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