‘No-one would have cared if Man City were 25 points clear’

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LONDON. — Former Arsenal star, Paul Merson, says it’s unlikely anyone would have cared if the English Premiership was halted today with Manchester City having established a 25-point lead at the top of the table.

But, because it’s Liverpool, who haven’t won the league for 30 years, the whole world appears to be singing in the Reds corner and calling for the matches, which have been halted for now, to be completed.

“It’s all well saying Liverpool are 25 points clear,’’ Merson told SkySports.

‘‘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 (Liverpool), 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.”

The shutdown of English football was yesterday extended until at least April 30 after the Premier League and English Football League held crisis meetings.

“We’ve collectively agreed that the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than Thursday 30 April,” said a joint statement by the English Football Association, Premier League, EFL, players and managers’ bodies.

UEFA’s decision to postpone Euro 2020 for 12 months earlier this week could allow games to be completed over the summer if strict restrictions on travelling and mass gatherings to halt the spread of COVID-19 are lifted in time. The leagues still hope to finish the season once play can be restarted rather than accepting the current standings as final or declaring the campaign null and void.

“We’re united in our commitment to finding ways of resuming the 2019-20 football season and ensuring all domestic and European club league and cup matches are played as soon as it is safe and possible to do so,” added the statement.

Even if play can commence in early May, that could mean matches stretching beyond the June 30 goal UEFA agreed on for finishing the season on Tuesday. The end of June is when many players’ contracts and loan deals expire. However, the English authorities are putting no limit of when the 2019/20 season must be finished by. — SkySports/AFP.