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The Merseyside Derby is set to take place on the 21st of June at Goodison Park behind closed doors, as opposed to the previous option of playing on neutral ground.

The match was among those considered high risk due to the fear that supporters could congregate outside the ground.

However, following a meeting of the ground safety advisory group at Liverpool City Council, the match got the green light as updated safety certificates for Goodison and Anfield were approved.

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The derby was one of only two games in the initial rounds of Premier League fixtures of which the venues were yet to be decided.

Liverpool now have the opportunity to win the league title on their neighbors home ground, but this would require Arsenal defeating Man City in their upcoming fixture.

“We are satisfied that the considerable evidence and guidance provided by the Government, Everton and Liverpool Football Clubs, Public Health colleagues and Merseyside Police will ensure that the outstanding fixtures for the 2019/20 Premier League season can be safely and securely played at both Goodison Park and Anfield,” said councilor Wendy Simon, deputy Mayor of Liverpool and chair of the GSAG.

“A lot of factors have been taken into consideration by the GSAG, especially the safety of the players, match officials and staff in attendance at both stadia.”

“We are confident the measures in place will allow the matches to be held behind closed doors without any detrimental impact to all concerned and recommend to the city council that the safety certificates for both grounds be amended to allow this to happen.”

“I’m sure fans of both teams will welcome this recommendation and, subject to ratification, we look forward to watching the first of these matches – the Merseyside derby on 21 June – which will be broadcast live on free-to-air TV for the first time since the Premier League began.”

“We would also advise that everyone, wherever they may be watching these fixtures, to strongly adhere to the guidance on social distancing around the current Covid-19 pandemic and for not only these matches but the wider relaxation measures anticipated for the city.”

Liverpool currently lead the campaign, with 25 points ahead of Manchester City, who is in second place.  While Everton are currently 12th, with a long way to go for European qualification.

 

By: Muyiwa Aguda 

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