GLEN JOHNSON: Former Liverpool defender and Betdaq Brand Ambassador Glen Johnson explains why he thinks even if The Reds get to complete the season and claim their first Premier League crown, it will always be tainted.
Speculation continues on as to if and when football might restart and in my opinion, the longer it goes on the more strongly I feel the season should be cancelled. It’s obviously a very difficult situation because we’re talking about the best league in the world in the Premier League, so to hear people talking about changing the rules to have shorter halves and more substitutes just appears to be making a mockery of the competition. Of course there’s a lot on the line and people want to get it finished, but it seems as if a strong reason for that is from a financial perspective. Yes, that has to come into it, though is it really worth potentially harming people over that?
League position the key to come back
For the players it must be a very tricky situation because some must be chomping at the bit to get back, while others will be much less keen to get going again. If you’re one of the Liverpool players of course you’re going to want to get back playing as quickly as possible because you’re so close to winning the title, but for teams in and around mid-table it’s a different proposition altogether. For them there isn’t much at all to play for because you’re not going to win anything and you’re not going to get relegated, so from their perspective it’s going to be very difficult to get motivated to come back and play when there is so little on the line.
Teams in the relegation zone will also want to get back because they’ve still got the chance to get out of trouble, but for a decent proportion of teams they’ll be thinking, what’s the point? With all the potential health risks, it’s going to seem pretty pointless when in the grand scale of things, the matches mean hardly anything. There are going to be several matches between mid-table sides that are going to be of low quality because there simply won’t be any motivation there. That surely can’t be a good advert for the league, but I guess that’s a risk they’re prepared to take in order to get it finished.
Getting back up to speed
The longer the lockdown goes on, the harder it’s going to be for players to get back to peak fitness. They’ll definitely have been keeping fit as best as they can and will have had programmes designed to do that, but it’s one thing being fit and it’s another being match fit. Being up to speed for the rigours of the Premier League doesn’t happen overnight and the squads will need time to get back into the swing of things.
The lads have been off for over six weeks now, which is longer than I had off in my career for about 10 years. We used to get two to three weeks off after the season before we regrouped for the start of the next pre-season, so it will definitely be a new experience for them. I don’t think they’ll need that long, maybe two weeks or so to get them ready, but as we know the clock is ticking…
It looks as if the rest of the Premier League season will be completed using neutral venues and if that does happen it will certainly take some of the gloss off things. For Liverpool, winning the league at Anfield is what they’ll all be dreaming of, but to win it at somewhere like St. George’s Park just sounds wrong. Unless Liverpool don’t lift the trophy in the traditional way at Anfield, every other set of fans is going to be at them saying they didn’t win it properly. You have to feel sorry for Jurgen Klopp’s side because of course they deserve to win it, but they’re going to win it in such a way that it’s always going to be the title-winning season that is tainted.
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