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Klopp’s coronavirus stance praised by WHO chief Ghebreyesus

18:52 GMT+3 14/03/2020
Jurgen Klopp Liverpool 2019-20
The Liverpool boss sent a powerful message to fans to "protect one another" during this time of crisis

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been hailed by the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, for sending a “powerful message to the world” on coronavirus.

The Reds enjoy a 25-point at the summit of the Premier League standings and are just two wins away from sealing a first title in 30 years, and so stand to lose dramatically should the season be cancelled.

Nevertheless, former Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp stressed that health is more important than football when he backed a shutdown of the league.

"First and foremost, all of us have to do whatever we can to protect one another. In society I mean," Klopp wrote in a statement released on Liverpool's official website backing the suspension of play in England until at least April 4.

"This should be the case all the time in life, but in this moment I think it matters more than ever.

"I've said before that football always seems the most important of the least important things. Today, football and football matches really aren't important at all.

"Of course, we don't want to play in front of an empty stadium and we don't want games or competitions suspended, but if doing so helps one individual stay healthy – just one – we do it no questions asked.

"If it's a choice between football and the good of the wider society, it's no contest. Really, it isn't.

"The decision is being implemented with the motive of keeping people safe. Because of that we support it completely. We have seen members of teams we compete against become ill. This virus has shown that being involved in football offers no immunity."

These words were music to the ears of the WHO chief.

"Thank you Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool Football Club for your powerful message to the world," Ghebreyesus tweeted.

"Put people's health first, reduce risks, care for the vulnerable and compassion: this is the WHO way. We will win the fight against Covid-19 if we are working together.

“This is a time for promoting health and protecting people from coronavirus.

"WHO is grateful for the solidarity being shown by Jurgen Klopp & Liverpool FC, Alisson Becker, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba, FIFA, Peter Schmeichel, Andrea Radrizzani, Romain Grosjean and others in the world of sport.

"Every little bit of help makes a difference, from sharing messages of support & guidance, to showing how to protect health.

"Join us in the WHO #SafeHands Challenge. We are calling on people all around the world to show the simple ways to beat coronavirus."

Figures published on Saturday show that there have been 1,140 cases of Covid-19 confirmed in the UK, with 21 deaths.