New analysis of health data predicts the direct local death toll which Liverpool’s controversial Championship League match with Atletico Madrid created directly. UK government failure to stop mass gatherings has been linked to 41 extra deaths in local hospitals. At the time of the match, Madrid was already known to be a COVID ‘hot spot’ but no travel restrictions were imposed and a huge crowd included over 3,000 flown-in Spaniards.

The death data has emerged in a major Sunday Times investigation which has put government COVID decisions under the spotlight, trying to explain why the UK has the highest death toll in Europe.

Modelling by specialist NHS data analysts ‘Edge Health’ has produced estimates that the Liverpool-Atletico match was linked to 41 extra deaths at local hospitals in our region between 25 and 35 days after the game. But total resulting mortality levels could be larger if you include fans going back to homes further afield after attending the Anfield match.

At the time of the Championship match, there were an estimated 640,000 Covid-19 infections in Spain compared to only 100,000 in the UK.

The ‘Edge Health’ data analysis also linked racing’s Cheltenham Festival to 37 extra deaths in Gloucestershire hospitals.

On the day of the Liverpool-Atletico game itself, Government Deputy Medical Adviser Jenny Harries was featured in an interview with Boris Johnson where she said she felt such events would not have a big impact on transmission of the virus. But it would seem from the new data that this view was wrong. Regional Public Health doctors are currently working on an investigation into the impact that the match had on the city’s infection rates.

And this tragic death toll is on a matter where there has been absolute Blue-Red solidarity. Although he did not comment publicly himself at the time. Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti revealed to an Italian newspaper that Jurgen Klopp had told him personally that “going ahead with the game in those conditions was a criminal actm” adding: “I think he was right.”