The Premier League is considering holding the Merseyside derby over 230 miles away from Liverpool, if the game between Liverpool and Everton does not receive the necessary safety certificate to go ahead at Goodison Park.
Neutral venues have been a major talking point in the ‘Project Restart’ debate in recent weeks. And while the majority of confirmed fixtures will now go ahead at their intended venues, the Merseyside derby on 21 June and Liverpool’s clash with Manchester City on 2 July still await confirmation.
There have been fears that games of significant magnitude could see fans gather in large groups outside stadiums. The Merseyside derby, which has the potential for Liverpool to win a first league title in 30 years should Manchester City drop points against Arsenal a dew days earlier, is one.
To make matters worse, the north west of England now has the UK’s highest infection coronavirus infection rate. It is therefore a matter of public health in addition to policing, all of which will need to be considered when the decision over whether to issue a safety certificate is made.
The Athletic writes that there are currently four alternative venues up for consideration where the Merseyside derby could be played. The leading contender is Southampton’s St Mary’s stadium, which is just over 230 miles from the centre of Liverpool by road.
The other options are Wembley, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the King Power Stadium. However, it is suggested that flying to Southampton might be easier and safer for the Liverpool and Everton squads than driving to Leicester, or possibly go by train to London.
If Manchester City beat Arsenal in what will be the second game of ‘Project Restart’ on 17 June, it will mean that Liverpool cannot win the title against Everton and would have to wait for another few days until facing Crystal Palace on 24 June to have a chance to mathematically wrap things up.
Source : 90min