Coronavirus: Virgil Van Dijk fears Liverpool will lift Premier League trophy in empty stadium
15 March 2020, 14:43
Star Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk fears his team will be forced to lift the Premier League trophy in an empty stadium amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The Merseyside-favourite said he would be "gutted" if Liverpool received their first Premier League crown - their first top-flight win since 1990 - in an empty Anfield.
Coronavirus fears have led to all top-flight matches being postponed until 4 April at the earliest, with Premier League officials due to convene on Thursday to discuss the next steps.
Liverpool currently sit 25 points ahead of second-placed Manchester City, who they went toe-to-toe with in last season's epic title race that went down to the last day of the season.
Van Dijk told reporters it would be "a bit of a blow" for his club to put an end to their baron league run without fans their to enjoy it with them.
"If we won it in an empty stadium and the fans weren't there, I'd be gutted for them," he said.
"Obviously, if there are no fans at Anfield, then it will be a bit of a blow - no one wants to play games without the fans.
"Until a decision is made on how we go on from here, then we just have to deal with it. But when it happens, we are still bringing the title to our fans, definitely."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce a blanket ban on major public gatherings next week, which will further restrict the world of sports.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Valencia defender Ezequiel Garay became the first LaLiga player to confirm he had tested positive for Covid-19.
Garay revealed the news on his Instagram account, writing: "I've tested positive for the coronavirus, I feel great and now all that's left is to listen to the health authorities. For the moment, I have to be isolated."
The Spanish club later confirmed that five of its first team and club staff had contracted the illness. It added that those affected are "all in their homes in good health and under isolation measures."
Spain is set to be put entirely in lockdown from Monday, with all LaLiga matches already being suspended for at least two weeks.
Most UK sporting events were cancelled across the weekend, however the Super League match between Castleford and St Helens went ahead, along with the Olympic boxing qualifiers in London, and snooker's Gibraltar Open, which is continuing behind closed doors.
Writing in the Daily Mail, pace-bowler Stuart Broad praised the decisive action of the England and Wales Cricket Board in abruptly calling off England's cricket tour of Sri Lanka on Friday.
Broad wrote: "The NBA was called off, the Melbourne Grand Prix was called off, golf's Players Championship was called off.
"Suddenly, it was like 'wow.' These major worldwide events were being postponed and there was a feeling within our group that we ought to think about where we stood.
"Thankfully it did not come to that. The call came from the top, whether from Tom Harrison, or Ashley Giles, or others in the hierarchy at the ECB.
"They made a very tough but necessary decision and credit to them for putting the players and the fans first."