Goodison Park, Everton Home Ground, has finally been given clearance to host Merseyside derby between league table leaders Liverpool football club and Everton. The match which is going to be the first for both teams in three months was almost taken to a neutral venue due to the fear of fans invasion and other security challenges.
The Everton vs Liverpool match which will come up on June 21 can turn out to be the match Liverpool will officially become the Premier League winners of this season. Liverpool who currently tops second-placed Manchester City with 25 points, will hope that City will lose to Arsenal on the 17th of this month.
If that happens and Liverpool wins 4 days later, Liverpool will lead City with 28 points. This means that if City wins all their remaining 9 games and Liverpool lose their remaining 8 games, City will never overtake Liverpool again this season.
Due to the importance of the match which will be played behind closed doors and amid coronavirus pandemic, the Merseyside police put the match on the list of matches which should be played in a neutral venue.
However, after a series of meetings involving the Liverpool City Council and the Ground Safety Advisory Group, the venue was approved on Wednesday and a safety certificate was awarded to permit the match to take place at Goodison Park.
While reacting to the news that Liverpool and other Premier League clubs have been allowed to play their home matches at their usual venues but behind closed doors, Liverpool said in a statement that the decision was well received.
“Further dialogue between all partners is scheduled this week and together will provide clear and regular updates for supporters throughout this process”, the club said.
“We would like to thank the Chair, the elected members of GSAG, and all those people who have been working tirelessly in the background for their support as we take the next step to completing the 2019/20 Premier League season.”
Also, Merseyside Police assistant chief constable Rob Carden said the police have accepted the decision of the City Council and the advisory group and they would work to ensure that the remaining league matches that would be played in the city are organised in line with security and health guidelines.
“The main issues of concern was always going to be public health. It is not the role of the police to make operational decisions on the basis of public health”, he said. “We are guided by experts in public health and the government. We accept the decision of the GSAG in this respect and will work closely with our partners to play our part in delivering safe events.
“We are still in unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 pandemic and there are strong concerns in Merseyside, and the wider North West, due to the fact that the R rate here is still higher than the rest of the country.
“For that reason, we would urge supporters to do the right thing – stay at home, enjoy the opportunity to watch every second of the game free of charge on your own TV, in your own living room and keep yourself, your family, friends and neighbours safe.”
All things being equal, the Premier League is set to resume on June 17 while coronavirus testing continues twice in a week until the season ends.