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Seeing Red in Liverpool

In England, where COVID-19 has stalled Premier League action until at least April, there is talk of abandoning the season entirely...leaving Liverpool fans as red as the shirts they wear.

There was only ever going to be one champion in the 2019/20 English Premier League. After ten games it was clear that Liverpool were the Champions-elect, leaving the only other real contender, Manchester City, in the dust. 30 years without lifting the Premier League trophy seemed certain to happen barring a global pandemic but...

When the season was called to a halt, after 29 rounds of the 38, they were a whopping 25 points ahead of the current Champions, City. All they had to do to become mathematically impossible to catch was win 2 of their remaining 9 games. It would have been an easy task for a team who had won 27 of their 29 games.

Talks are ongoing to address the best way to deal with the outcome of the season and one solution being tossed around is cancelling the season altogether. The most popular solution is for the season to be completed when things return to normal but this also poses issues with European competitions to consider and such a condensed schedule before heading into the 2020/21 season.

Nobody, not even Pep Guardiola, is questioning whether or not Liverpool would have gone on to win the league, but opting to hand them the trophy sets a precedent that is unacceptable for other teams in the league. If the season is frozen where it was left, this means that teams in the bottom three who had a chance to stay in the league will be relegated. Teams who were fighting for European spots either be fortunate to stay where they are or unlucky to not be given the final games to move up the table.

The way the table stands now, Manchester United sit in 6th place with 45 points from 29 games. In 8th place is Sheffield United. They have a game in hand (28 games played) and sit on 43 points. If they were allowed to play one more game and had won, they would have leapfrogged Manchester United and qualified for European competition. On a side note, this would be an epic achievement for the newly promoted team.

A similar story would unfold in the fight for Premier League survival at the bottom of the table where Aston Villa sit on 25 points just behind West Ham, Watford and Bournemouth on 27, and Brighton on 29. The race for survival is hardly decided and should the table stand as it is, there would be uproar from any of the clubs who feel they had a chance at staying up.

Former Manchester United great Paul Ince recently stated his concern with scrapping the season entirely and insists that put it like this to The Guardian, “It’s a tricky situation because you can’t please everyone.

“Can you imagine 30 years of waiting to win the season and, when you’re on the brink, they end up making the season null and void?

”The uproar that would cause in Liverpool. Would we rather upset one team to make everyone else happy or give it to Liverpool? We have to complete the season whatever happens and, if that’s in May or June, you’re only talking nine games.

“Even relegation from the Premier League, it’s too close, so it’s crystal clear that we have to finish the season. We don’t know how long this is going to last for but making it null and void doesn’t make sense.”

Many share Ince’s opinion but there are plenty of advocates for scrapping the season altogether. At the end of the day, nobody is questioning whether or not Liverpool would have gone on to win the league. The problem is that if the English FA were to hand them the trophy, they would have to honor every team’s standing when the season was put on pause. That can’t happen. So whether the season has to be scrapped altogether, or finished at a much later date, Liverpool deserve all the credit in the world for being one of the best teams in premier league history during the most unprecedented season.