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Liverpool denied chance to win title at Anfield over safety concerns – Paper Round

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Mohamed Salah, Liverpool

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ByMichael Hincks
29/05/2020 at 06:24 | Updated 29/05/2020 at 07:25
@MichaelHincks

The Premier League is coming back... so of course Friday's Paper Round is geared around news of the June 17 restart date.

12 'high risk' matches at neutral venues

  • Premier League confirm June 17 return, all 92 matches on TV
  • The dates Liverpool could be crowned champions
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In case you missed it, Thursday brought news that the Premier League will be returning on June 17. Every match will be live on television, some free-to-air, with staggered kick-offs to ensure it’s wall-to-wall football. However, amid the celebrations, there will be some casting an eye on reports Liverpool will be denied the chance to win the title at Anfield. The Times claims there are 12 ‘high risk’ matches where there are fears fans would congregate outside stadiums and potentially flout social distancing rules. Those include any Liverpool home game where they could seal the title, away matches at Everton and Manchester City, as well as London derbies, with all set to be played at neutral venues to minimise the risk.

Paper Round’s view: The Premier League is coming back, and while that news was widely met with jubilation, there will be those bemoaning the lack of trust placed in supporters around certain matches. Rightly so, as by hand-picking a few matches you are insulting a select set of supporters. It’s a matter that will reportedly be discussed on June 4, and it will likely dominate headlines, with plenty of talking heads, in the days to come.

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Points-per-game, just in case…

Of course, there may yet be bumps along the road with the UK still in the midst of a pandemic, and the Mirror reports that Premier League clubs have agreed on using an unweighted points-per-game system if the campaign cannot be completed. The current plans are for the season to finish in early August, allowing time for UEFA to conclude both the Champions League and Europa League before a delayed start for the 2020-21 season in September.

Liverpool could be denied the chance to win the title at Anfield, but the league's return means they are set to end a 30-year wait for league glory

Image credit: Getty Images

Paper Round’s view: The day the null-and-voiders’ dream died? Liverpool will be champions, basically, but this point-per-game agreement still serves as a regular reminder for clubs at the bottom that it’s always being above the dotted line, as fun as a late, great escape may be.

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Barca still keen on Lautaro

Barcelona are not giving up their pursuit of Lautaro Martinez despite Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio claims the striker will only leave is if his £99.7m release clause is met, the Guardian reports. Barca are reluctant to pay that much, but are weighing up an offer of £80.9m plus one player.

Paper Round’s view: It appears we’ll soon find out how much Barca really want Lautaro as their long-term replacement for Luis Suarez, or how willing Inter are to go below the £99.7m release clause. If you’re Inter, you may as well hold out given the club you’re dealing with spent over £100m on three occasions.

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Help for Championship clubs

Championship clubs struggling to afford coronavirus testing will be allowed to put payments on hold, the Daily Mail reports. All 24 clubs face bills estimated at £200,000, not so easy given teams are coping with the financial impact of the current pandemic, but the move will ease the worries somewhat as the second-tier targets its own path to resumption.

Paper Round’s view: A sensible move, of course, and an eye-opener to realise that £200,000 is a sizeable amount for clubs just a league below the multi-billionaire business that is the Premier League.

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