Liverpool and Bournemouth players couldn’t hide their smiles as they awkwardly lined up against each other without shaking hands today.
The Premier League have banned pre-match handshakes between teams and officials as a result of the coronavirus, which has already claimed over 3,500 lives across the world.
An official statement read: “The Premier League fair-play handshake will not take place between players and match officials from this weekend until further notice based on medical advice.
“Coronavirus is spread via droplets from the nose and mouth and can be transmitted on to the hands and passed on via a handshake.
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“Clubs and match officials will still perform the rest of the traditional walk-out protocol ahead of each fixture.
“On entering the field of play, the two teams will continue to line up, accompanied by the Premier League music, then players from the home team will walk past their opposition without shaking their hands.”
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And the first pre-match lineup without handshakes took place before Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Bournemouth at Anfield this afternoon.
The likes of Virgil van Dijk and Ryan Fraser could only smile on awkwardly as the Reds walked past their opponents, although Georginio Wijnaldum and Nathan Ake opted for a fist pump instead.
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Once the unusual pre-match ritual was out of the way, Jurgen Klopp watched his side fight back from a goal down to return to winning ways against Bournemouth.
Callum Wilson fired the visitors in front after nine minutes, tapping into an empty net from Jefferson Lerma’s cross.
But 16 minutes later Mohamed Salah drew the Reds level, slotting home past Aaron Ramsdale from the edge of the box.
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Sadio Mane then turned in what proved the winner after 33 minutes, racing through on goal and cooly tucking the ball into the bottom-right corner.
After suffering their first Premier League defeat of the season away at Watford last weekend, as well as crashing out of the FA Cup away at Chelsea on Tuesday, Klopp will be delighted that his side picked up a much-needed set of three points.
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