Former Everton and Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney has admitted that Liverpool deserve to be crowned champions this season, despite the future of the 2019-20 campaign remaining up in the air.
The enforced suspension of play due to the coronavirus has raised serious doubts over whether the current Premier League season will be completed, with the threat of it being declared null and void still lingering.
Such a decision would mean that Liverpool miss out on a first title in 30 years despite boasting a 25-point lead over their closest challengers, but Rooney believes that it would be fairer to finish this season even if it means sacrificing the 2020-21 campaign.
"Liverpool will win the Premier League. Now, as you can imagine, I have Everton fans phoning me up saying: 'The season has to be cancelled!'" Rooney told The Times.
"And, of course, as an Evertonian and someone who played for Manchester United for 13 years, there's a bit in me that thinks that would be good... But no. Liverpool have been fantastic. They have put so much work in. They deserve this title. Can you imagine waiting 30 years and then having it taken away like this? The right decision has been made.
"The fair thing is to finish 2019-20 – even if we have to lose next season in the process. It wouldn't surprise me if finishing the season takes until the end of 2020. Football, like every other industry, is in unknown territory and, just like every other industry, has to listen to the advice and take all necessary precautions. For me, that rules out finishing the season behind closed doors.
"When you play behind closed doors it still means bringing together a fairly large group of people. Most important of all, even for a closed-doors game you need ambulances, doctors, paramedics. They're mandatory. Police may be needed too. Why bring them all to a football match when in this crisis they will be needed elsewhere for things that are far more important."
All Premier League football is currently postponed until April 30 at the earliest, although there is an acceptance that the shutdown may last for longer than that.