The Premier League’s plans to use neutral venues for some of the remaining fixtures have been thrown up in the air with Merseyside Police indicating they have “no objections” with policing games at either Anfield or Goodison Park.
Earlier on Friday UK’s football policing lead Mark Roberts had indicated that “the game in which Liverpool could secure the league title” would have to be played in a neutral venue while other matches deemed high-risk would also be moved.
But Merseyside Police, who would of course be in charge of policing said matches, have now suggested they would be happy for those fixtures to go ahead as originally planned although will ultimately defer any decision to the Safety Advisory Group.
Merseyside Police’s assistant chief constable Rob Carden, said: “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.
“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.
“Decisions in relation to public health risk are made by the government and Public Health England and ultimately the final decision rests with the Safety Advisory Group, which is chaired by Liverpool City Council in line with the decisions made nationally in relation to sporting events.”
The 236th Merseyside derby, originally set to go ahead at Goodison Park on the opening weekend of the restarted season, is one of those games that could be moved with a venue yet to be confirmed.
The other matches identified by police are Manchester City vs Liverpool, Manchester City vs Newcastle, Manchester United vs Sheffield United and Newcastle vs Liverpool.
The 2019/20 season will resume on Wednesday 17 June with Manchester City vs Arsenal and Aston Villa vs Sheffield United before a full program of fixtures the following weekend.
Should matches on Merseyside be allowed to go ahead as originally scheduled that opens up the possibility that Liverpool, currently 25 points clear at the top of the table, could clinch the Premier League title at Anfield, albeit without fans in attendance.