Tom Werner

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Liverpool: Return to games would be good for UK

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The chairman of Liverpool, American businessman Tom Werner, has been discussing the possible return of the 2019-20 Premier League season as the Reds are runaways leaders and on the cusp of their first league title in over 30 years.

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Liverpool sat 25 points clear atop the table and needed five more points to clinch the title before the season was suspended on Mar. 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Premier League clubs have yet to vote on restarting the current season and there has been plenty of debate about safety issues in the UK, as it has the second-highest COVID-19 death toll in the world.

Werner told The Associated Press that he hopes games return soon because “it would be good for the country” to have live action to focus on.

“There’s a hole in so many people’s lives,” Werner said. “Football is central to their dreams and their hopes. And certainly, as regards Liverpool, we are playing magnificent football and we are just a couple of matches away from winning the trophy. But I do put it in perspective.”

Safety is the main issue for Werner — who has been chairman of Liverpool for 10 years — as Premier League clubs will vote on key issues surrounding ‘Project Restart’ next week.

“The more important thing is if we can figure out a way to get these matches played because I think it would be good for the country,” Werner said. “The most important thing is safety. I do think the protocols that the Premier League are working on as somebody said its probably safer to play behind closed doors than to go to a supermarket… It’s a terrible situation we’re all in. Someday, hopefully, there will be a vaccine and we can return to the joy of being in a stadium and watching the elegant play of great football players.”

Whatever happens, it seems like Liverpool will win the title as ‘null and void’ (or the season being canceled) is not seen as a viable option and if games cannot restart for the 2019-20 season, a points-per-game model is likely to be used to decide the final table. Werner added that he is looking forward to a huge trophy parade in Liverpool as and when people can congregate together again.

Next week is a key week for the Premier League ‘Project Restart’ plan as clubs are due to meet on Tuesday (May 26) to discuss a return to full contact training, then again on Thursday (May 28) to vote on whether or not to restart the season.

Phase One of the return to training protocol is now well under way and that means players and staff have to strictly adhere to social-distancing rules inside and outside of the training grounds. If they don’t, then the entire ‘Project Restart’ plan will fall down as more positive tests will be found and individuals will be forced to self-isolate for seven days at a time.

Liverpool ready to give Klopp new contract

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Liverpool are hoping to extend Jurgen Klopp‘s stay at Anfield with a bumper new deal.

Klopp is currently contracted to the club through 2022 at almost $9 million per season, but has been linked to his former rivals Bayern Munich.

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Reds chairman Tom Werner has said he believes Klopp is “committed to Liverpool” and that the club wants him to stay “as long as he likes” following a triumph over Tottenham Hotspur which provided the Anfield set with their sixth UEFA Champions League title.

The 51-year-old Klopp has won 57 percent of his matches in charge of Liverpool, even better than his sterling run at Borussia Dortmund. He led Mainz to Bundesliga promotion before winning two German league crowns and a German Cup.

Bayern president Franz Beckenbauer admitted that he’d like to “one day” see Klopp manage Bayern Munich, who recently won another Bundesliga title and retained manager Niko Kovac.

That’s not happening any time soon, as Klopp attempts to give Liverpool something it hasn’t seen in the Premier League era: A domestic title.

Report: Liverpool rejects $2.5 billion ownership bid

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According to reports in England, Liverpool has rebuffed a $2.5 billion takeover, one that would have potentially been a world record for a soccer club.

The Mirror reporter Andrew Gilpin writes that Sheik Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nehayan, part of the Abu Dhabi ruling family and a cousin of Manchester City owner Sheik Mansour, met with current Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group about the massive takeover, but the deal ultimately broke down.

After the report was released, Liverpool released a statement denying the claims that the potential deal progressed that far. “FSG has been clear and consistent: the club is not for sale,” read the statement. “But what the ownership has said, again clearly and consistently, is that under the right terms and conditions we would consider taking on a minority investor, if such a partnership was to further our commercial interests in specific market places and in line with the continued development and growth of the club and the team.”

There are slightly conflicting reports across the English media with regards to how far the failed deal progressed, but most reports state that at some point FSG chairman Tom Werner met with Sheik Khaled. According to BBC’s Dan Roan, the deal was considered not credible by FSG’s investment bank.

This is not the first time an outside consortium has attempted to purchase Liverpool in recent years. Reports say a group led by British businesswoman Amanda Staveley failed with a $1.9 billion bid last summer, before launching her recent attempts at securing ownership of Newcastle United.

As the statement above confirms, Liverpool has been searching for a minority investor for quite some time, hoping to emulate Manchester City, who took on Chinese investors China Media Capital back in late 2015 in a deal worth approximately $339.5 million.

Liverpool owners reassure fans in message concluding first half of season

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This past May, Liverpool was fighting for the Premier League title in second place, trying to overcome the might of Manchester City.

The Reds narrowly missed this task, two points behind City when the season ended, and the first half of the 2014-15 year hasn’t catapulted off to the start that one would come to expect out of the reigning runner-up.

Yet, their squad makeup was certainly different squad last season, with Luis Suarez was providing manager Brendan Rodgers with great finishing quality at the forward position, and Daniel Sturridge was also dangerous on the pitch to present arguably the most dangerous tandem in England.

“While we did not achieve our ultimate ambition in winning the Premier League, our style of play captured the attention of the world as the club played attacking football, scoring 101 goals,” the statement from American owners John Henry and Tom Werner read. “…There was much to celebrate during our memorable season that ended in May.”

Situated in eighth place fifteen points back from second place, Liverpool doesn’t look ready to spur a winning run large enough to make the league crown a possibility. Because such is the case, Rodgers has felt the pressure as his squad, consisting of new summer transfers Dejan Lovren, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana, has fallen on inconsistent health.

Still, heading into 2015, the owners pointed what they called “positive signs”, which include the nice run of form, unbeaten in six of the past seven games, being exhibited presently.

And of course, the most “positive” aspect of the coming month will be the imminent restoration of Sturridge, out since August due to an accumulation of injuries.

“We look forward to the return of Daniel Sturridge sometime in late January. We are very encouraged by his efforts and determination to resolve his injuries…Great progress has been made that should help him going forward.”