There’s very little doubt now that it was a mistake that UEFA held that last round of Champions League games even as COVID-19 began running rampant throughout Europe. We know now, for example, that the Atalanta - Valencia match that took place in Milan is a big reason why the virus got such a foothold in Italy.
Jürgen Klopp spoke recently about how health concerns around Atletico Madrid traveling to Merseyside following the closure of all Spanish schools played heavy on his mind in the lead up to the match.
“But then on Monday morning, I woke up and heard about the situation in Madrid, that they would close the schools and universities from Wednesday, so it was really strange to prepare for that game, to be honest,” Klopp admitted in an interview with the official site.
“I usually don’t struggle with things around me, I can build barriers right and left when I prepare for a game, but in that moment it was really difficult.”
It seems that the boss had even harsher words to say in private, with fellow Merseryside manager Carlo Ancelotti. Ancelotti revealed that he’s spoken to Klopp since football has been suspended.
“The other day I heard [from] Klopp,” Ancelotti said. “He told me that making the game play in those conditions was a criminal act, I think he was right.”
Klopp has been adamant that keeping his players safe during this crisis is his number one priority, so it’s reasonable to believe that this poor judgment had him steaming. When we look back at this time, however, this mistake will likely feel like a drop in the bucket of all the compounding, calamitous missteps that lead the world to where we are now.