Sunday’s Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool has been officially postponed following supporter protests inside and outside Old Trafford.
No new date has yet been announced by the Premier League but available windows are thin on the ground.
Thousands of Manchester United fans had been protesting against the club’s ownership ahead of kick-off, with supporters present around the stadium and separately holding up the departure of the team buses from the Lowry Hotel.
A small section of fans had also made it onto the pitch during the demonstration.
A statement from United said:
Following discussion between the Police, The Premier League, Trafford Council and the clubs, our match against Liverpool has been postponed due to safety and security considerations around the protest today. Discussions will now take place with the Premier League on a revised date for the fixture.
Our fans are passionate about Manchester United, and we completely acknowledge the right to free expression and peaceful protest.
However, we regret the disruption to the team and actions which put other fans, staff, and the police in danger. We thank the police for their support and will assist them in any subsequent investigations.
The Premier League added in their own statement:
Following the security breach at Old Trafford, the Manchester United v Liverpool game has been postponed. This is a collective decision from the police, both clubs, the Premier League and local authorities. The security and safety of everyone at Old Trafford remains of paramount importance.
We understand and respect the strength of feeling but condemn all acts of violence, criminal damage and trespass, especially given the associated COVID-19 breaches. Fans have many channels by which to make their views known, but the actions of a minority seen today have no justification.
We sympathise with the police and stewards who had to deal with a dangerous situation that should have no place in football.
The rearrangement of the fixture will be communicated in due course.
WHEN COULD THE REARRANGED MATCH TAKE PLACE?
Playing the rearranged game tomorrow night (still within Gameweek 34) is one scenario providing security concerns aren’t an ongoing issue and any relevant rearrangements can be made, with the Red Devils still getting a 72-hour window before their rematch with Roma.
Aside from that, the only free slot that Manchester United have is on the weekend of May 15/16 (Gameweek 36) – when Liverpool are in action against West Bromwich Albion.
West Brom v Liverpool could, theoretically, be moved back a few days into the midweek of Gameweek 35, creating a ‘double’ for both teams and allowing Manchester United v Liverpool to take place in Gameweek 36:
Thanks again to Legomane for the graphic.
The teamsheets had actually been released as normal an hour before the scheduled kick-off time.
The headline news was that Diogo Jota (£7.1m) was only among the substitutes, with Jurgen Klopp reverting back to his tried-and-tested 4-3-3 set-up following a dalliance with a more attacking formation last weekend.
Jota was one of two players who dropped out of the starting XI, with Georginio Wijnaldum (£5.3m) also making way.
Nat Phillips (£4.1m) had been passed fit, while James Milner (£5.3m) was recalled in the middle of the park.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s line-up showed only one change from the side he sent out to face Leeds United last weekend.
Paul Pogba (£7.6m) returned, with Daniel James (£6.2m) dropping out.
SUNDAY’S OTHER GAMEWEEK 34 ACTION
A match that had very little impact on the upper echelons of Fantasy Premier League went the way of the visitors at St James’ Park.
Thanks to a combination of injuries, rotation and general disinterest in either side, not a single player on show had an effective ownership of greater than 0.27% in the top 10k.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.3m) was back in the starting XI after a spell out with malaria and continued his fine individual record against a listless and potentially ‘on the beach’ Newcastle United, scoring one and fortuitously assisting another en route to a first double-digit haul since Gameweek 24.
A third of his 12 attacking returns this season have come against the Magpies.
Budget FPL midfielder Gabriel Martinelli (£4.9m) set up the Gabon international’s goal, with the even-cheaper Mohamed Elneny (£4.2m) scoring the opener following an Aubameyang miscue.
Bernd Leno (£5.0m), Bukayo Saka (£5.1m), Emile Smith Rowe (£4.2m) and Rob Holding (£4.3m) were all either unused substitutes or not involved as Arteta once again ran wild with the rotation with one eye on Europe.
Arsenal were again without Kieran Tierney (£5.2m) and Alexandre Lacazette (£8.4m), with Arteta offering a pessimistic update ahead of kick-off.