Klopp hopes derby unites virus-hit Liverpool

London (AFP) –


Jurgen Klopp says football can help bring people together in tough times as Liverpool gear up to face Everton on Saturday in a city placed under tough coronavirus rules.

Klopp's champions travel to face Carlo Ancelotti's Premier League leaders for a second Merseyside derby behind closed doors in four months.

Liverpool has been placed under the "very high" alert level of the British government's new three-tier system to check the spread of Covid-19.

Under the strict rules many pubs and bars are closed and people are not allowed to socialise with anybody beyond those they live with.

The Liverpool squad itself has been hit in recent weeks, with Sadio Mane and Thiago Alcantara testing positive.

"I like to think that here football is always a massive point in this city," said Klopp. "I think months ago we discussed 'is football really necessary, does football play a role in society?'

"Obviously from a subjective point of view I was pretty sure it does.

"Usually when bad things happen, this city comes really together and tries to make the best of it. That is what we try from a football point of view for sure.

"I think if we played Man City now on the weekend it would have the same importance, it's just football is an important thing.

"It's just now because we are both clubs from the city, the whole city is united and will watch one football game, not two."