Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson has changed his stance on Goodison Park hosting the Merseyside derby and says he now has ‘no objection’ to Premier League fixtures being played in the city.
The Premier League is set to return behind-closed-doors later this month with a Merseyside derby scheduled for the first full round of fixtures, a clash which could potentially see Liverpool crowned champions should other results go their way.
Anderson, an avid Everton supporter, initially objected to the idea of the season being completed, amid fears that fans would congregate outside or near the stadium to celebrate a long-awaited title success for the red half of Liverpool.
However, Anderson has altered his stance on the derby being played at Goodison Park on June 21, or Liverpool playing their remaining games at Anfield due to the improved situation
“We are in a better place than we were four weeks ago and we’ve been able to convey why it’s so important nobody congregates outside or near grounds,” Anderson told The Athletic.
“We have had the opportunity since then to speak to fans and the clubs have done their part and got the message across that the supporters need to stay away. Both clubs have made it clear. Jurgen Klopp has made it clear.
“So I would have no objection to the games being played at our clubs’ home grounds, both the derby at Goodison and Liverpool’s games at Anfield.”
Anderson’s view comes despite the news the ‘R rate’ of the virus has risen above 1 in the North West once again, and whilst he admits that is a ‘big concern’ to the health of the city, believes the Premier League fixtures can take place safely if people ‘abide’ by the safety rulings.
“The government only moved towards the relaxing of lockdown when the R-rate dropped below one and the figures we’ve got is that it has climbed back above that in our city now,” he said.
“So that is clearly a big concern — but if people abide by what we are asking them to do, the games should be alright.
“We’ve had time to talk to the fan groups and they’ve helped get the message out, too. It can be done.
“Merseyside police have made it clear they support the derby going ahead and they are the ones responsible for policing outside the ground and maintaining social distancing.”