Kampala, Uganda | XINHUA | Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp issued a direct appeal to fans on Monday after shocking scenes of celebrations to mark the club’s Premier title success grabbed global headlines.
Klopp’s direct plea to fans came as a 19-year-old teenager appeared before the city’s magistrates charged with causing criminal damage by arson to one of Liverpool’s most iconic buildings, the Royal Liver Building, at the waterfront Pier Head.
Matthew Egglesden who lives in neighboring Lancashire was arrested Friday on suspicion of arson after a firework hit the building which is within a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Egglesden did not enter a plea when he appeared before the city’s district Judge Paul Heeley on Monday.
He was released on conditional bail and is banned from entering Liverpool city center and must live at a specified address to await a full court hearing at Liverpool Crown Court on July 27.
Thousands of people ignored pleas to stay home and crowded the Pier Head and surrounding areas, with videos widely shared showing angry clashes with police officers.
Another man also appeared in court Monday on an assault charge and police in the city said 15 other people have been bailed after being arrested on suspicion of violent disorder.
Writing Monday to the Liverpool Echo newspaper, Klopp told fans he loved their passion, songs, refusal to accept defeat and commitment.
“Even though you cannot be at our games at the moment I love that you still made sure that you were with us by making the Kop look like the Kop even if it cannot sound like it,” he said.
Klopp then added: “What I did not love, and I have to say this, was the scenes that took place at the Pier Head on Friday. I am a human being and your passion is also my passion but right now the most important thing is that we do not have these kind of public gatherings.”
He said: “We owe it to the most vulnerable in our community, to the health workers who have given so much and whom we have applauded and to the police and local authorities who help us as a club not to do this. Please, celebrate, but celebrate in a safe way and in private settings, whereby we do not risk spreading this awful disease further in our community.”
Klopp said he would love nothing more than to celebrate together, to have a parade that would be even bigger than the one after Liverpool won the Champions League last year.
He added: “But it just is not possible. We have all done so much to fight COVID-19 and this effort cannot go to waste. We owe it to ourselves and each other to do what is right and at this moment that means being together and being there for one another by being apart.”
He said when the time is right Liverpool will celebrate and paint the city red.
He concluded his plea: “But for now, please stay at home as much as possible. This is not the time to be in the city center in big numbers or to go near football grounds.
“At the start of this crisis I said that we did not want to play in an empty stadium but if it meant that it helped just one person stay healthy we would do it no questions asked and nothing has changed to make me alter this view.”
Following the outbreak of trouble Friday, the club, along with city hall leaders, issued a statement saying several thousand people turned up at the Pier Head and some chose to ignore the social distancing guidance and risk public safety.
“Our city is still in a public health crisis and this behavior is wholly unacceptable. The potential danger of a second peak of COVID-19 still exists,” it added.