Liverpool have urged fans to take extra precautions, as fears grow over the risk of Coronavirus spreading from Madrid.
More than 2,500 Atletico fans are expected to arrive in the Merseyside city for the Champions League clash with the Reds.
That is despite action taken by the Spanish government to outlaw those same fans from attending matches in Atletico’s own stadium, or travelling to rival grounds within the country, as all La Liga games are ordered to take place behind closed doors.
The authorities have reacted after a major outbreak which is centred in Madrid, with a contagion rate growing faster there than anywhere else in the world over the past few days. Cases have doubled in little more than 24 hours, with almost 50 percent coming in the Spanish capital.
There have now been 35 deaths in the country, with that rate growing massively in the past 24 hours, and that has raised fears many travelling Atletico fans could be infected and bringing the deadly virus through major UK transport hubs, before mingling in the city of Liverpool over the next few days.
Liverpool are understandably concerned about the situation, but without clear advice from the seemingly complacent government, can do nothing under current legislation and regulations to prevent the opposition fans from entering the stadium on Wednesday night. A Liverpool source suggested the club has approached the government to see if they will react in the same way as the Spanish authorities – and those in Italy, Germany, France, and Austria – to curtail travel from virus hotspots. But so far, there has been nothing but silence.
The club last night issued an urgent bulletin via the official website, detailing guidelines for the European game, where they have asked fans to take extra precautions.
Officials made clear they continue to implement the full government advice, and they reminded supporters of good practice to reduce the risk of contagion.
They have placed hand sanitisers in all washrooms, and posted official medical advice throughout the stadium, while there will be extra measures in place on match day.
Players will not shake hands, and mascots to avoid any direct contract. They have also urged all fans, including Atletico supporters, to take the chief medical officer’s advice on self-isolation if they display any signs of Coronavirus.
Liverpool indicated they will also maintain close contact with government authorities and urge them to update swiftly on the situation so they can move on any further possible measures.
A statement read: “We will continue to take the best advice from the relevant authorities and will update supporters with any further developments.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said he understood completely the fears surrounding the virus, and said the club would quickly accept any move to play games behind closed doors.
“It is not about me as a manager but about me as a human being. There are some things are more important than football. We realise this in this moment,” he said.
“Whatever is decided we will respect. We all have families, parents, kids friends, who we want to do well. For that it is clear we will accept that.”
And Atletico manager Diego Simeone admitted the situation with fans travelling from Madrid, now a major epicentre of the Coronavirus outbreak is far from ideal.
“I think it affects everyone, it is more worrying the wider issue,” he said. “Whether we play without fans home or away it doesn’t matter, we just have to be strong, make the right decisions. It is something which worries all of us which we need to resolve together.”