With the Omicron variant sweeping through England and six of the ten scheduled Premier League matches this weekend having already been cancelled, the threat of Covid is once again dominating headlines in the football world.
Whether or not Liverpool’s match on Sunday still goes ahead—and with two Spurs players and three Reds already ruled out that it will seems far from certain—what happens to football in the coming weeks isn’t entirely clear.
What is clear, at least according to Jürgen Klopp, is that there will be no room in his squad moving forward for unvaccinated signings, with the Liverpool manager saying that they would be a threat to the rest of his players.
“We are not close to signing a player but it would be influential, definitely,” was his response when asked if the club would consider signing an unvaccinated player. “If a player is not vaccinated at all, he is a constant threat for all of us.
“He doesn’t want to be a threat, of course. It is not that he thinks, ‘Oh my God, I don’t care about the others,’ but he has to change in a different dressing room, eat in a different dining room, sit in a different bus, drive in a different car.
“From an organisational point of view it’s really messy if you really want to follow the protocols. If we have to travel to a country to play international football and we come back, he has to self-isolate—all these kinds of things.”
In October, it was revealed that while many of the major European leagues had vaccination rates over 95%, in the Premier League that number stood at less than 70%. Klopp has recently stated that all of his players are vaccinated.
Omicron’s resistance to the vaccine means that hasn’t been enough to spare his squad entirely, but even with Omicron, being vaccinated makes one less likely to contract the virus and far less likely to develop serious symptoms.
“Of course it would be influential,” Klopp added. “We would have to do things like building extra buildings for unvaccinated players and that will not happen, but hopefully it will not be necessary to think about [Covid] in the future.”