Jurgen Klopp has said that Liverpool will be wary of signing unvaccinated players in the future as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact on the Premier League.
There has been a rise in positive cases among Premier League clubs fuelled by the Omicron variant in the United Kingdom with six games postponed this weekend, after Aston Villa’s clash against Burnley was called off on Saturday.
The English Football League (EFL) recently announced that 25% of its players from its 72 clubs do not intend to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
When asked at a news conference if a player’s vaccination status would influence the club’s decision to sign him, Klopp replied: “Yes, it will be influential.
“Let’s take our situation, if a player is not vaccinated at all, he’s a constant threat for all of us. Of course, he doesn’t want to be a threat and it’s not like he thinks: ‘I don’t care about the others,’ but he is.
“So, we have to find different scenarios. He’ll have to change in a different dressing room, eat in a different dining room, sit in a different bus or a different car. From an organisation’s point of view, it’s a real mess.
“If you really want to follow the protocols, it’s incredibly difficult to do. If one gets COVID and he was around him in the last four days, he will be in isolation. If we have to travel to a country where we play international football and we come back, he has to self-isolate so of course, it will be influential.
“So, we’ll have to do extra building for unvaccinated players and it will not happen, hopefully not. Hopefully that won’t be necessary in the future.”
The Premier League’s most recent data on vaccination levels of players in mid-October found that 81% of players had received at least one vaccination dose with 68% double vaccinated.
This is in contrast with Serie A in Italy, who announced that 98% of its players have received two vaccinations but added the league had no data about the percentage that have received a third dose.
When asked whether vaccinations should be mandatory, Klopp said: “It’s a question of persuading. I think mandatory, from a moral point of view it should be mandatory for each person I think, but not from a legal point of view.
“I don’t see that but from a moral point of view because if I can do something that helps the people around me, that’s for me mandatory. Obviously people see that differently.
“I am 54 years old and I really am a big believer in that you can convince people about the right things to do, but I’m not sure in this specific case.
“England is in a much better place vaccination rate-wise than Germany is for example. It’s unbelievable how aggressive the anti-vaxxer scene is and how clear they are in that they obviously know better than the rest of us.
“It’s really tricky, really tricky. But no, I don’t think it should be mandatory legally, but morally, yes.”
Liverpool travel to Tottenham on Sunday and will face a side who have not played a match since Dec. 5 due to a COVID-19 outbreak among playing and coaching staff.
Information from Reuters was included in this report.