Liverpool have pleaded with fans not to attend Anfield on Wednesday night when Jurgen Klopp’s side lift the Premier League trophy, with Merseyside Police warning that they have the availability of Dispersal Orders in an effort to avoid similar scenes that surrounded their title victory last month.
Thousands of fans celebrated the club’s first title win for 30 years when Manchester City lost to Chelsea on 25 June, despite coronavirus restrictions remaining in place in an effort to minimise the spread of Covid-19. The following night, scenes turned ugly in Liverpool city centre as a firework aimed at the Liver Building set it ablaze as thousands more gathered for the celebrations, with the club moving to condemn those responsible.
In an effort to prevent similar scenes unfolding outside Anfield on Wednesday when the club plays its final home game of the season, Liverpool have issued a joint-statement with Liverpool City Council, Merseyside Police and the Spirit of Shankly supporters’ group to urge fans to watch the celebrations from home. The club’s chief executive, Peter Moore, has also confirmed that “contrary to reports” there are no plans to stage any celebration outside the stadium, and he urged supporters to wait until “the time is right” to celebrate together with the team.
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“Our priority remains on the health and wellbeing of our people, the local community and supporters,” Moore said. “We know that winning the Premier League is bringing joy to fans during these challenging times but it’s critical that we all get behind the city’s public health advice to keep Liverpool safe.
“The Premier League trophy presentation will be happening inside the stadium and, contrary to reports, nothing is happening outside of the stadium. When the time is right, we will all come together to celebrate but, for now, we are asking fans to keep themselves and their families safe by celebrating at home.”
The north-west has been one of the worst-affected regions by coronavirus in recent months, and officials are concerned that a mass gathering outside the stadium this week will aid a second wave of Covid-19 cases.
“On this occasion, the best seat in the house is in your living room,” said Merseyside Police assistant chief constable Natalie Perischine. “There is simply no benefit to going to the ground and we as a city cannot afford for people to gather in large numbers.
“We are all still in unprecedented times due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the last thing anyone wants is a resurgence of cases in Merseyside, with every life lost a tragedy. The last thing anyone wants is for all Merseyside’s patience and selflessness to unravel and for lockdown measures to be reintroduced, as we have seen in other areas.”
Police officers will be on duty both at the ground and in the surrounding area, with ACC Perischine detailing a “comprehensive and appropriate policing operation” that is normally deployed on match days as well as a “wider city policing plan”.
She added: “We will also have additional measures we can introduce if necessary, including road management and Dispersal Orders, and this is again to ensure that people are kept safe and discouraged from the risks of gathering.
“Unfortunately, as we have seen throughout the lockdown period, members of the public haven’t adhered to the regulations in place. But this is our opportunity to all show the rest of the country, and the world, why this city is revered for its ability to come together in challenging times and do the right thing.”