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Manchester City’s clash with Liverpool in November is set to be brought forward to an earlier kick-off slot after fan trouble at previous fixtures, according to reports. Police and the local safety advisory group have put their heads together to make the change, with Arsenal’s Premier League match on the same day also affected.
Tension between the two sets of supporters boiled over in December last year, when City won a rowdy Carabao Cup tie 3-2. Both clubs condemned behaviour that saw a disabled fan racially abused and a young girl hit by an object thrown from the away section.
According to The Daily Mail, authorities took note of prior incidents before deciding to prevent City vs Liverpool kicking off at 5.30pm. The Premier League heavyweights were due to take the late Saturday kick-off slot on November 25.
But reports indicate that the fixture will be brought forward to 12.30pm. Arsenal’s meeting with Brentford – currently in the early kick-off slot – is expected to be moved to later in the day, with the two fixtures effectively swapping places.
Organisers are still engaged in discussions over Liverpool’s ticket allocation for their trip to the Etihad. Last season’s match saw the Reds given only 2,400 seats, a 20-per-cent reduction from their usual 3,000.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is unlikely to be pleased with the decision if the Premier League make it official, given that a number of his players will have a shorter timeframe in which to recover from demanding trips abroad.
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November 25 falls directly after an international break, and less than three days prior to City’s scheduled match with Liverpool, Alexis Mac Allister and Alisson will be involved in Argentina’s World Cup Qualifying showdown with Brazil.
Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz also face long trips and tight turnarounds to return from South American qualifiers with Uruguay and Colombia respectively. Back in September, Klopp spoke out directly on the problems stemming from his side being given early kick-offs directly after international breaks.
“It is a joke,” he ranted. “We had four players in South America who I haven’t even seen yet. In 24 hours we play Wolves. We have four international breaks by March and for two of them we already have the 12.30 kick-off. But we cannot change it.
“We will never change that, whoever we talk to. Now the TV channel has a different name, but obviously it doesn’t change anything at all. They don’t care so why should I talk about that? We didn’t think about it.”
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