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Klopp says coronavirus was a d...
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Klopp says coronavirus was a distraction ahead of Atletico defeat

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

16:18 27 Mar 2020

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says the COVID-19 outbreak had become a distraction leading into their Champions League last-16 second leg with Atletico Madrid. 

The German has been speaking at length with LiverpoolFC.com for the first time since football in England was suspended.

The clamour to suspend football came to a head barely 48 hours after the final whistle at Anfield when UEFA suspended both of their club competitions.

Of the games that went ahead that week, Liverpool's meeting with Atletico was one of the minority to be played out in front of a capacity crowd.

Klopp admits talk surrounding the virus had affected his own preparations for a game Liverpool lost 3-2 after extra-time, "I woke up [on Monday] and heard about the situation in Madrid, that they would close the schools and universities from Wednesday, so it was really strange to prepare for that game, to be honest.

"I usually don’t struggle with things around me, I can build barriers right and left when I prepare for a game, but in that moment it was really difficult."

The Liverpool boss said the squad gathered for a meeting that Friday [March 13] and have been dispersed since.

Klopp feels the virus has focused mind around the globe about truly important matters away from football, "There are so many people out there that have much bigger problems so it would feel really embarrassing to myself if I was to talk about my ‘problems’ – I have the problems every person in the world has in the moment.

"That’s the lesson we learn in this moment. Four or five weeks ago it looks like a lot of countries thought, ‘That’s our problem, that’s our problem, that’s our problem, we have a problem with them’ and stuff like this.

"Now nature shows us we are all the same and we have all the same problems in the same moment, and we have to work together on the solution.

"There is nothing good in that situation apart from maybe what we can learn from that."

Liverpool posted a message of gratitude to frontline healthcare workers on Thursday from all corners of the club.

And the manager says he's been truly moved by the response to the emergency in the UK, "It’s extraordinary, it’s great.

"I think yesterday I was sent a video of people in the hospital just outside the intensive care area and when they started singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" I started crying immediately. It’s unbelievable.

"But it shows everything, these people not only work but they have such a good spirit. They are used to helping other people, we need to get used to it because usually we have our own problems and stuff.

"But it’s their job, they do it day in and day out. They bring themselves, if you want, in danger because they help ill, sick and seriously handicapped people, so I couldn’t admire them more and appreciate it more, I really couldn’t."

While conceding that football's true importance - or lack there-of - has been exposed by this crisis, Klopp urged the fans to do what they can to stop the virus' spread, "The only way to get football back as soon as possible, if that’s what the people want, the more disciplined we are now the earlier we will get, piece by piece by piece, our life back.

"That’s how it is. There is no other solution in the moment, nobody has another solution."

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Atletico Madrid Coronavirus Covid-19 Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Premier League UEFA Champions League

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