Will Liverpool Win the Premier League if it’s Cancelled?
A few weeks ago, Liverpool fans were counting down the days till they could take to the streets and celebrate winning the Premier League title for the first time ever, and their first top-division title since 1989-90.
The landscape has since changed since the spread of the Coronavirus. First, a postponement of Premier League fixtures was announced until at least April 4 and now there are whispers the season may not be completed at all.
But what does it all mean for Liverpool? Why can’t they just be handed the title?
Let’s reveal the different scenarios that Liverpool fans will be desperate to hear about.
What’s the current situation in the table?
Liverpool are on 82 points from 29 matches, thanks to a remarkable 27 wins, a draw and a defeat.
They’re on course for the biggest points tally in Premier League history.
As has been well reported, they’d need just two more wins to mathematically be champions or just the one win if second-placed Manchester City were to lose.
No-one doubts for a second that if the season were to resume, Liverpool would almost certainly wrap up the title in two or three games.
In fact, many online sports betting companies have already paid out on Liverpool winning the title. But unfortunately, taking the view that Liverpool would almost certainly win the title from this position, isn’t quite good enough.
A race against time
June 30 has now been the accepted cut-off date for domestic leagues finishing.
As we explained here, contractual and commercial considerations regarding player contracts and shirt sponsorships mean that the season going beyond that date would create all manner of complications.
And it’s not just those.
If the leagues were to carry on til say mid-July, the break before the end of this season and next would be minimal.
There would be no chance for a proper pre-season – which means:
- A lost opportunity for new signings to find their feet
- No time for managers to work with their players before the real games come about
- No chance for playing friendlies or going on lucrative overseas tours
Completing all matches before the next season
More to the point: even if the leagues could finish beyond June 30, could they still complete all the necessary matches eventually and before the start of the next season?
The Coronavirus situation is worsening in Europe and that April 4 date is looking somewhat unlikely as the resumption one.
Fine, if two more matches were played, Liverpool won them both and were mathematically champions, that would solve the problem, whether the rest of the games were eventually completed or not.
But what if the season wasn’t resumed at all?
Handing the title to Liverpool could result in opening a huge can of worms from a legal perspective with Manchester City in particular more than within their rights to challenge a decision that had no legal precedent.
City are still reeling from their UEFA ban so may decide to use the courts to their own advantage this time.
Let’s call the ball game
An American expression meaning to bring the game to an end, whether prematurely, or otherwise.
In this case, it would mean not resuming the league and everyone ends the season on the points they’re on.
That would, of course, end the wait for Liverpool albeit in a very anti-climatic way.
Reds fans have been dreaming for years of sealing the title on the pitch and turning that day into the mother of all parties. This would just be a case of not having a crowning moment and it would leave the fans, players, club staff and owners feeling a bit flat.
At this stage, however, they’d probably settle for it, because the title and trophy are more important than the celebrations.
But then again, it’s not up to them.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has stated that if the leagues don’t resume, no-one will be awarded the title, not in England or anywhere else.
What about the rest?
It’s also not just about the wants and needs of Liverpool.
There are 19 other teams in the Premier League, some of which have just as much to lose or gain from the current standings in the table being considered the final ones.
Would it be fair that Bournemouth would be relegated on 27 points but Watford and West Ham, ahead purely on goal difference on the same 27 points- stayed up?
Is it right that Manchester United would have to settle for fifth place when they’re just three behind Chelsea in fourth with arguably easier games to play next?
The ‘other’ outcome…
The alternative is that the season isn’t resumed at all.
Or it is, but without seeing Liverpool get those two wins, and is just voided, removed from the history books.
Given all the uncertainty going on, the emphasis on safety and precaution above all else and other considerations from different stakeholders that go well beyond just football, it’s not impossible.
If that were to happen and after the near-misses to winning the Premier League over the last few seasons, Liverpool fans could well feel that their title bid is somewhat cursed.
They may have been the best team in the country by a errr…country mile this time around, but that’s not to say they can go out and do it all again next season.
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