Jordan Henderson has admitted winning the Premier League without fans there to celebrate with the players would be strange.
Liverpool were 25 points clear of second-placed Manchester City when the season was halted because of the coronavirus pandemic. They need two wins from their last nine games to end their 30-year wait for the title if and when the Premier League restarts.
“Of course it would feel different because if you win any trophy and receive it without any fans there, it would be pretty strange,” said Henderson. “It is still not over. We still have work to do and we still need to perform at a high level right the way until the season finishes because we want to finish as strongly as we can to make sure it is a full season.
“After that, whether we win it or whatever, then [receiving] the trophy and the fans not being there… you just have to deal with it when it comes. Whenever fans are allowed back into the stadium, I am sure we will have some sort of celebration together.”
The Liverpool captain also spoke of his pride at how Premier League footballers have come together to contribute towards the NHS during the pandemic. Henderson has been widely credited with leading the PlayersTogether scheme that was announced on 8 April. The initiative is directing funds to the NHS Charities Together group for distribution to good causes working to provide support to NHS staff and patients.
Speaking for the first time about the venture, Henderson said: “We wanted to make sure it was the right thing we were doing and we wanted to do it properly. It did take a bit of time but ultimately we’ve come together and done an amazing thing and raised a lot of money for charities that need it and support the people who need it, which has been massive for them.
“All players were amazing, all captains were amazing, all representatives from each team were amazing. It’s been a really positive thing that the players have done over the course of the last couple of months and hopefully there’s one or two things more to come in the near future.”
Henderson and the majority of Premier League players returned to non-contact training in small groups last week, which marked the first phase of ‘Project Restart’. The England midfielder revealed the protocols put in place at Liverpool’s Melwood training ground, as well as general social distancing rules, means the groups may not necessarily be the same from one day to the next.
“The lads have been dying to get in and when they’ve been doing the sessions, there’s been a really good intensity,” he said. “Hopefully it’s not too long before we can get back to full training in bigger groups. I think after a few weeks of proper training we’ll be right back where we left off.”
As for the next steps, he added: “The measures that the Premier League and Liverpool – and I’m sure other clubs across the Premier League – [have put in place] are amazing. It’s been really good and I think the majority of players would agree, in terms of how safe they feel.”