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Soccer – Liverpool’s Klopp welcomes safe standing trial in Premier League

(Reuters) – Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp gave the upcoming safe standing trials in the Premier League a thumbs-up on Friday, saying he is excited to see how much the atmosphere at Anfield could improve next year.

Supporters will be allowed to stand https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/standing-areas-premier-league-championship-grounds-be-allowed-january-2021-09-22 in selected Premier League and Championship grounds from Jan. 1 as part of a pilot programme after the UK government instructed the Sports Grounds Safety Authority to create licensed standing areas.

Grounds in England’s top divisions were converted to all-seater stadiums after Liverpool supporters were crushed in over-crowded and fenced-in areas at the Hillsborough Stadium in 1989, which led to 97 deaths.

“I think it’s a good moment to start thinking about how we can get back to where we were. Football is about atmosphere, the more people in the stadium and in the right position, the better the atmosphere is,” Klopp told reporters on Friday.

“It’s good that we’re talking about it again, that we might reintroduce it again, test it again. I’m sure people are responsible enough to do it the right way. The stadiums are completely different to the time when sad things happened.

“I like the idea and I’m really excited about how much better the atmosphere could be at Anfield with safe standing. I’d be really surprised if it could be even better.”

Liverpool travel to Brentford on Saturday and Klopp praised their manager Thomas Frank, saying the promoted team could have the “best season of their lives” after impressing in the top flight to sit ninth in the standings after five games.

“The football they play is incredible and the organisation is incredible so Thomas and Brentford are doing an incredible job. They show even with less money you can create something really special,” Klopp said.

“They are an incredibly well-drilled football team. Everyone knows what to do, everyone is ready to make the extra yard… The whole team defends like it’s the last game of their lives and that’s really impressive.

“It will be an interesting game because two really lively high intense teams will face each other. The home team has the crowd on their back and we have to make sure that we can calm the atmosphere a little bit down.”

Klopp said midfielder Thiago Alcantara would return from injury only after next month’s international break while Naby Keita (foot) is ruled out for the weekend.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

Reference