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Liverpool’s matches against Everton and City could be played at neutral venues

A final decision on the venue for the Merseyside Derby is expected on Monday.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin with Virgil van Dijk during the Merseyside Derby staged at Anfield earlier this season.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin with Virgil van Dijk during the Merseyside Derby staged at Anfield earlier this season.
Image: Richard Sellers

LIVERPOOL’S MATCHES AGAINST Everton and Manchester City are the only ones that might have to be played at neutral venues as the Premier League confirmed the first batch of fixtures in its Project Restart plans.

The Merseyside derby has been fixed as a 7pm kick-off on Sunday, 21 June, with the match one of 33 in the remaining 92 to be made available free to air, in this case on Sky’s Pick channel.

A decision on where the match will be played is expected on Monday, when Liverpool City Council’s safety advisory group meets to decide whether the game can be played at Goodison Park as scheduled or needs to be moved away, as the English top-flight prepares to resume behind closed doors amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The derby was one of five fixtures on a list issued by UK’s football policing lead, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts of South Yorkshire Police, which were set to be played at neutral venues at the request of local forces.

Three of the five games on that ‘neutral venues’ list are within the fixtures released by the Premier League on Friday, which cover the first three full rounds of matches in the resumption.

Merseyside Police appeared to contradict DCC Roberts last week by saying they were happy to police matches in Liverpool. The derby could be the game where the Reds clinch their first top-flight title in 30 years, if Manchester City slip up against Arsenal on 17 June.

City’s match against champions-elect Liverpool, who are 25 points clear of Pep Guardiola’s side, on 2 July is also listed as ‘venue TBC’, and had also been on the list of matches earmarked to be moved to a neutral venue.

All other matches without the ‘venue TBC’ disclaimer have been given the go-ahead by local police, the PA news agency understands.

That means another game on the original neutral venue list, Manchester United v Sheffield United, can be played at Old Trafford on 24 June. 

The London derbies between Tottenham and West Ham on 23 June and West Ham v Chelsea on 1 July have been given the go-ahead by the Metropolitan Police. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has expressed misgivings about Premier League matches being played in the capital.

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