Have you ever seen Liverpool win the league?
Not many of us have. They haven’t done it in 30 years, after all. Many of us were very young, or not even born back in 1990!
They were going to do it this season. But then the coronavirus stuck, and the season’s now suspended. Maybe just for a month; probably for a bit longer. Maybe even for good. And Liverpool, massive 25-point lead and all, are still about two wins shy of guaranteeing the title — the fact that they would’ve wrapped it up in early April was clearly something the universe couldn’t handle.
Joking aside, Liverpool are quite obviously the 2019-20 Premier League champions(-elect), and apparently the rest of the league can acknowledge that obvious eventuality as well — they should, they’ve had front-row seats to the Reds’ dominance all season!
As reported last night by the Telegraph, at the Premier League’s emergency meeting on Friday, “there was little opposition to awarding Jurgen Klopp’s men their first English title for 30 years” should the suspension of the season last beyond April 4 (or get canceled altogether).
Liverpool have won 27 of the 29 games played, drawing once (Manchester United away in late October) and losing once (Watford away a couple weeks ago). They gave up on the League Cup, were knocked out of the FA Cup (by Chelsea), and just the other day, were eliminated from the Champions League (by Atlético Madrid). But in the Premier League, they’ve had no equal.
In fact, if it were up to me, I’d award it to them without an asterisk, even. They’ve certainly earned it.
Liverpool set to be awarded Premier League title amid coronavirus chaos.— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) March 13, 2020
Options include a 22-team Premier League next season, possibly dovetailing with the winter World Cup.
Report from @BenRumsby @SamWallaceTel@JBurtTelegraph@Matt_Law_DThttps://t.co/0nNFdeCw7r
The more interesting and far more complicated question will be what to do with the rest of the teams, especially those currently in the relegation zone and the current top-two in the Championship. Do we relegate/promote based on current standings? Do we promote two and relegate none? Do we shift the season to a spring-fall schedule to align with a winter World Cup in 2022? Those are the big issues up for discussion in next week’s follow-up meeting among Premier League bosses.
If the league can resume on April 4, there won’t be much of a problem. But experts are predicting a much longer stoppage, one that could extend well into the summer. And while UEFA will likely push Euro 2020 to next year, that may still not give enough time to finish out the season before June 30, which is when player contracts expire or roll over to next season (and pre-arranged international transfers like Hakim Ziyech’s to Chelsea officially take place). And that’s before we get into any of the other contractual considerations, like the literal billions paid to the league from TV companies and all the other sponsorships and commercial arrangements.
What a mess! (Congrats to Liverpool.)