Liverpool legend John Barnes insists that his former club can’t just be handed the title and that this season’s fixtures have to be completed – even if that means waiting until next year to do so.
Barnes was part of the Reds last title-winning side in 1990 but with the club now on the brink of their first League Championship since then, Premier League fixtures have been halted because of the global coronavirus pandemic.
A potential return to action has tentatively been scheduled for the first weekend in April – when Liverpool would be potentially able to clinch the crown with a victory at Manchester City in their first game back.
But many fear that with COVID-19 cases increasing to rise and concerns over the health of players, staff and spectators alike, the wait to resume play will continue for many more weeks or even months.
Barnes is one of those who believes that the road back will be a long one but he remains adamant that the remainder of the 2019/20 games must be played, no matter how lengthy the timescale.
The 56-year-old, who played 407 matches for the Reds, scoring 108 goals, told Sky Sports: “You can’t just give Liverpool the title.
“Who will get promoted, who will get relegated then?
“No, you can’t just say ‘We deserve the title because we’re so far ahead.’
“What would Leeds and West Brom say? What would Fulham say if we promote those two?
“Whoever is in the bottom three of the Premier League, do they not get relegated and then the following season when we start again a team gets relegated?
“Safety is obviously the most important thing so I think the best thing to do is to allow this season to take as long as it does – there’s no need to rush back as we’re delaying the Euros until 2021.
“Even if you have to play one game a week from October which means managers complaining about playing so many games (will be ok).
“The end of this season goes on to maybe next January or February, then you have a pre-season, then you can kick-start at the right time rather than trying to cram games in and playing catch-up for years.”
Barnes’ remarks came in the wake of UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin hitting out at what he called the “fake news” that Liverpool could be handed the Premier League title without the season being completed.
The Slovenian said: “I can say that it’s not true. Our goal is to finish the leagues and we didn’t recommend anything like that to any association or any league.”