Liverpool home games and major London derbies ‘to be played at neutral venues’ over fears fans will gather outside – The Sun

PREMIER LEAGUE leaders Liverpool are "likely" to play their remaining home games at neutral venues when the season resumes, according to reports.

The Times say that authorities are concerned that "key matches" – those involving Liverpool and London derbies – could see people break social distancing guidelines by gathering outside grounds.

The Premier League will restart on June 17 after the break enforced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Manchester City will host Arsenal while Aston Villa take on Sheffield United in the first games back.

One match is then expected to be played on the Friday before a full round of fixtures across the weekend.

Premier League bosses want the season to be concluded by the weekend of August 1 and 2.

Liverpool’s first match is due to be against Everton at Goodison Park but that could also be moved to a neutral venue.

Clubs discussed the prospect of neutral venues earlier this month, where the conclusion reached was that the staging of games at a home ground would be down to the discretion of the local police.

Prior to that, SunSport told you some clubs were alarmed at the prospect of playing at neutral grounds also used as coronavirus testing centres.

Manchester City plan to continue sharing facilities with the NHS for at least three more months.

The Etihad is understood to be one of eight proposed neutral venues to be used for football’s Project Restart.

But one Prem club official said: "We would find it worrying for a ground still in use as a testing centre to be picked as a neutral venue."

The Championship could also see games deemed "high risk" played at neutral venues, say The Times.

It is reportedly hoped that neutral grounds would be used in only "very few" games.

Any decision would be taken jointly by the club involved, the local Safety Advisory Group and the police.

The report adds that Championship homes games involving promotion-chasing Leeds and West Brom are those most likely to be moved owing to the clubs' huge fan bases.

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