Merseyside Police is working with Liverpool FC, Leeds United, Liverpool City Council, Spirit of Shankly and British Transport Police ahead of this weekend’s game against Leeds at Anfield.
We are urging fans to watch the game at home or at covid safe licensed premises and keep themselves, their families, friends and neighbours safe, as well as protecting the NHS.
The game is the first Liverpool FC home game of this Premier League season, and kicks off behind closed doors at Anfield at 5.30pm on Saturday (12 September).
Superintendent Paul White said: “As the city prepares for the start of the new football season, we are continuing to remind fans that with games still being held behind closed doors, there is no benefit to going to the ground.
“The match against Leeds United will be televised, and we are urging fans of both clubs to watch it at home or sensibly in licensed premises. We are still in the midst of a pandemic and the risk posed by large gatherings is far too great, especially when it is almost impossible to maintain social distancing.
“If you are planning to go to a bar or pub to watch the game, please plan ahead. Venues are still limiting capacity in order to comply with coronavirus guidelines and many fans will have to book in or risk not getting in, queue up, and ensure social distancing is maintained throughout. Planning where you will watch the game has never been more important.
“We have seen coronavirus cases rise again in recent weeks, and local lockdowns have been introduced in other areas of the country. Nobody wants to see similar restrictions imposed in Merseyside, and the best way to avoid that situation is for us all to work together to keep ourselves, our families, friends and neighbours safe.
“The vast majority of people in our communities have shown a huge amount of patience and selflessness throughout this pandemic, and the last thing anyone would want is for that hard work to be undone.”
Supt White added: “As with any normal match, a comprehensive and appropriate policing operation has been put in place ahead of Saturday’s game. We’ll have officers on duty at the ground and surrounding area and they will be supported by specialist resources including the Dog Section and Mounted police.
“We will also have an increased presence in Liverpool city centre throughout the day and evening, which is standard procedure, and are working with the local authority, business and British Transport Police who will be on trains in and out of the city.
“We’ll be keeping a close eye on all of our key locations, through patrols, CCTV monitoring and measures such as Dispersal Zones and road management should they be necessary. This is again to ensure that people are kept safe and discouraged from the risks of gathering.
“If you have any concerns on the day, report them to us via 999 in an emergency, or through passing information via @MerPolCC or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, and we’ll take the appropriate action.”
Matt Ashton, director of public health for Liverpool, said: “Last season was a huge challenge for everyone and I thank all our partners for their co-operation in managing a very complex and testing situation. Of course, COVID-19 has not gone away. We are starting to see increased numbers of cases across the city once again, so we all need to stay vigilant, clean our hands regularly, keep our distance from people outside our social bubbles, and wear face coverings when it is not possible to do so.
“Please support the club safely, either at home, in your social bubble, or at ‘covidsafe’ venues where they treat your health as seriously as they do their business. We all want to avoid any local lockdown that disrupts the football season, or closes the city down again, so please play your part.”