‘If it was Man City 25 points clear, nobody would care!’ – Handing Liverpool the title would feel wrong, says Merson
Liverpool are unfortunate to find themselves in Premier League title limbo, admits Paul Merson, as “if it was Manchester City 25 points clear, nobody would care”.
The Reds have waited 30 years to get their hands on the English top-flight crown.
Having moved to the brink of a first coronation in three decades, competitive football has shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic and cast doubt over whether an end to 2019-20 will be reached.
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The preference of many is to get the campaign completed, even if that means tweaking the schedule of future events.
Merson – a two-time title winner during his playing days at Arsenal – believes that has to be the case, with it difficult to see how Liverpool could be handed a trophy with nine games left to play.
He concedes that history is further complicating an already tricky situation, as a similar debate would probably have been avoided had serial winners such as City been leading the way.
The ex-England international told Sky Sports: “It's all well saying Liverpool are 25 points clear, but if I played snooker with my mate tomorrow, and I needed 25 snookers to win, and he said: 'The game has finished, there's no point playing on!' - for the next week or two, I'd be saying: 'But I could have won that!'
“You really feel for them, waiting 30 years for a title. If it was Manchester City 25 points clear, nobody would care! Because they've won it already. This team hasn't won it for 30 years! This is like a film.
“I really feel for them; even if you gave them the league now, mathematically it's not won. I know they've won it in essence, we all know that, but it's not the same! It's a shame.”
On his plan of action, the Gunners legend said: “What we could have done is put every club into complete isolation for a few weeks, and in a few weeks' time, we'll start again.
“We test them all after those few weeks, then we play all the games behind closed doors. All the games would be televised at all different times. But this is still a chaotic solution.
“I don't think you can have 22 teams, promote West Brom and Leeds and then relegate five next year. And if they declare the season null and void, what are they going to do - give everyone their season ticket back because the season essentially never happened?
“There's nothing to say the season has to start in August, that's just how we choose it. The Euros will be next year, so no silly England international friendlies, which buys six or so weeks, so we could start the season later in September and October.
“Euro 2020 isn't happening. That's 100 per cent, for me. I wouldn't even have the meeting on Tuesday. I don't even know why they're having a meeting about it. There's no point.
“The Champions League and Euros are simple - cancel them. They don't need to be played.”