Klopp: Liverpool fans not 'paranoid' over 'silly' coronavirus reports

The coronavirus has wreaked havoc with the global sporting schedule but manager Jurgen Klopp does not foresee it ending Liverpool's title bid.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp   -  Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp dismissed any notion Liverpool fans are "paranoid" about "silly" suggestions the Reds' Premier League title bid could be derailed by the coronavirus.

The Reds' hopes of going unbeaten throughout the Premier League season were curtailed in a shock 3-0 loss at struggling Watford on Saturday but they still hold a 22-point lead over Manchester City.

While there is limited threat from its rivals, reports over the weekend said the Premier League could be impacted by the rapid spread of coronavirus and Liverpool would not necessarily be crowned champion if the season was ended prematurely as no rules exist in such a scenario.

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However, Klopp says Liverpool fans – who have not seen their team win the top flight since 1990 – have no legitimate fears.

"I don't think our fans are paranoid," Klopp said when quizzed about the coronavirus threat ahead of Liverpool's FA Cup fifth-round tie against Chelsea.

"I can't believe Liverpool fans are thinking about it and I actually speak to Liverpool fans. 

"If anybody wants to ask me about that and how much sense it would make to delete all the results of this season and tell me who will play next year in the Champions League and stuff like this, it would be really interesting.

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"Nice story, obviously some newspapers have always to write something but when I saw it the first time I really thought, 'Wow, really somebody thinks something like that?'. 

"Liverpool fans are really not silly enough to believe in these things."

Liverpool has endured a slight blip by its own phenomenal standards this season, with defeats to Atletico Madrid and Watford sandwiched by a comeback win against West Ham.

On Tuesday, Klopp's side travels to Stamford Bridge for the next round of the FA Cup and the German insists the match is not necessarily a release from the pressures of the Premier League and Champions League.

"We never really think about lesser pressure, we are Liverpool, we are always under pressure," he added.

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"We play away at Chelsea and everyone expects us to win there, which is difficult, was always difficult, will always be difficult. 

"There's for sure no favourite in this game and if [there is] then it's Chelsea because they play at home."

In the previous round, Liverpool needed a replay to get past Shrewsbury Town in a match where Klopp courted controversy for handing responsibility to Under-23s boss Neil Critchley to field a team of youngsters as the fixture took place during the club's mid-season break.

Critchley was appointed as Blackpool manager on Monday but, while he is longer around, Klopp said some of Liverpool's fledgling stars who have featured in the tournament could be involved.

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"It's not about loyalty, these boys are our boys and they did what they did and if we would win the FA Cup in the end they would be involved in the celebrations," Klopp added. 

"If they will play I don't know, not all of them, but from the Shrewsbury team for sure there will be boys in the squad who will start."

On Critchley, he said: "Congratulations to Blackpool and to Neil. It's a great thing, nice challenge, nice opportunity for him. Really nice because it shows that it's possible you can make your way as a youth coach. 

"That's always what we wanted to have, we wanted to have the best people here in all departments."

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