Merseyside Police ‘ready’ to host any Liverpool match

English Premier League clubs voted unanimously on May 27 to resume contact training. (AFP)
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Updated 30 May 2020

Merseyside Police ‘ready’ to host any Liverpool match

  • Manager Jurgen Klopp says he is still hopeful his team can lift trophy on home turf

LONDON: Local police have said they would be “ready” to hold any possible Liverpool Premier League title-clinching match at Anfield, despite the UK’s football policing lead suggesting otherwise.

On Friday, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts of South Yorkshire Police, said games, including any match in which Liverpool can seal the title, would be moved at local forces’ request.

The Premier League is set to resume on June 17 following a three-month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Merseyside derby and Liverpool’s trip to defending champions Manchester City were among the games Roberts said could be hosted at neutral venues.

But Merseyside Police later said it was happy to police any match held at Anfield or Everton’s Goodison Park.

“Merseyside Police is ready to provide whatever policing is required of us in relation to games being played at our Premier League stadia once the season restarts,” the force said in a statement to the Liverpool Echo.

“In relation to crime and disorder we have no objections to any of the Everton or Liverpool home fixtures being played at their respective grounds.

“We have a good working relationship with both clubs, and their fan groups, and are content that we can work together in advance of the restart of the season.”

Manchester City’s home match against Newcastle and Liverpool’s visit to St. James’ Park were also said to be at risk, but Greater Manchester Police said a decision was yet to be made.

“A decision will be made by the SAGs (safety advisory groups) in due course and we will support whichever outcome is decided,” it said.

The subject is set to be discussed again when Premier League clubs meet on June 4 to finalize plans for the restart.

The Premier League released a statement saying its ambition was to complete the season on a home-and-away basis “where possible.”

“We are prepared for all outcomes and have a neutral venue contingency,” it added.

Liverpool are two wins away from claiming a first league title in 30 years, having sat 25 points clear of Man City when the season was halted in March.

Manager Jurgen Klopp on Friday had said he was still hopeful his team could lift the trophy at Anfield.

“We hope it will be at Anfield but we don’t know, and that’s not important,” he told beIN SPORTS’ Keys & Gray Show.

“Most of the people on this planet have never had a chance in life to become champion of the Premier League, for us it looks like that we have that chance. So we take it.”

Europe’s biggest four leagues are all set to complete their seasons, with the Bundesliga already back under way in Germany, Spain’s La Liga hoping to resume on June 11, and Serie A scheduled for a June 18 restart in Italy.


Man City’s court triumph set to intensify race for top 4 places in Premier League

Updated 14 July 2020

Man City’s court triumph set to intensify race for top 4 places in Premier League

  • The fight for a top-five finish has reverted back to needing to be in the top four to join champion Liverpool and City, already secured in second place

LONDON: Manchester City’s success in overturning its Champions League ban on Monday has huge ramifications on the Premier League and the remaining two teams that will qualify for Europe’s top club competition.

Chelsea, Manchester United and Leicester — and maybe Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield United, too — are now fighting for two qualifying spots instead of three with two weeks of the season remaining.

The fight for a top-five finish has reverted back to needing to be in the top four to join champion Liverpool and City, already secured in second place, in earning tens of millions of dollars in UEFA prize money next season.

The most concerned team is likely to be Leicester.

In the top four since September — and, in December, even looking like the most realistic title challenger to Liverpool — Leicester have imploded, collecting only two wins from their last 11 league games stretching back to the end of January.

After losing to relegation-threatened Bournemouth 4-1 on Sunday, Leicester will find themselves  in fifth place if Man United beat  Southampton on Monday.

United appears much more likely to secure a top-four finish and return to the Champions League after a season’s absence.

With four straight wins ahead of the Southampton game, United are the form team in the league and also has the most benign remaining schedule with upcoming matches against Crystal Palace and West Ham before what could be a winner-takes-all game game at Leicester on the final weekend of the season.

Making it all the more intriguing is the fact that another final-day match is between Chelsea and Wolves.

Chelsea is currently in third place, one point ahead of Leicester, but will drop into fourth if United beat  Southampton.

A victory over already-relegated Norwich on Tuesday appears pivotal for Chelsea, considering its last two games are at Liverpool — a team chasing records to cap its title-winning season — and then Wolves, who have gained a reputation for beating the top teams over the last two years.

Wolves are in sixth place, four points off the top four, so the ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport has come as a blow to their Champions League ambitions.

Indeed, Wolves’ best chance of qualifying for the competition is now to win the Europa League, which earns entry to the Champions League. The team coached by Nuno Espirito Santo has reached the last 16 of the Europa League and will play the second leg of its match against Olympiakos next month, with the score at 1-1 after the first leg.

Likewise, seventh-place Sheffield United needed City to lose its appeal at sport’s highest court to stand a realistic chance of a finish in the Champions League positions, a prospect that would have seemed fanciful for a team that was widely tipped for relegation at the start of the season.

Europa League qualification will be Sheffield United’s target now, with seventh place possibly earning that reward if Manchester City, Manchester United or Chelsea win the FA Cup.