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Liverpool to face Manchester City at Etihad Stadium as council rules out need for neutral venue

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Liverpool’s trip to Manchester City next week will take place at the Etihad Stadium after council officials decided there was no need to move the game.

The July 2 fixture had been earmarked as one that was being considered for being moved to a neutral venue, as Liverpool close in on the Premier League title.

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Concerns that Liverpool fans could gather in large numbers, at a time when the coronavirus pandemic remains a threat to public health, had led to suggestions some games could be moved.

Greater Manchester Police has been carrying out risk assessments of Premier League games in the area, and the visit of Liverpool has now been cleared by Manchester City Council.

Councillor Luthfur Rahman, an executive member for skills, culture and leisure, said: “The council’s safety advisory group [SAG] for the Etihad Stadium met this morning to review the upcoming fixture between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC.

“Following the most recent round of Premier League fixtures, which have all taken place behind closed doors, the SAG has signalled it has no objections to the above fixture taking place at the Etihad Stadium as planned at 8.15pm, Thursday July 2.

“As with all other Premier League matches this fixture will take place behind closed doors, with no fans present.”

Liverpool have moved to the brink of becoming English champions for the first time since 1990 after a 4-0 home win over Crystal Palace on Wednesday left them needing a maximum of two points from their remaining seven games.

There is a possibility of the title being secured before Liverpool head to Manchester, with City needing to win at Chelsea this Thursday to delay celebrations on Merseyside.

Jurgen Klopp’s side would make certain of the title with a draw at City, given Pep Guardiola’s team are the only side that can mathematically catch Liverpool.

After making the best-ever start to a season by a club in Europe’s top five leagues in 2019-20, Liverpool were on a relentless march towards the Premier League title, but Jurgen Klopp’s side were struck a cruel blow by the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, with real concerns that the Premier League could be cancelled early.

Luckily for the Reds and their supporters, who are hoping to end decades of disappointment, the Premier League restarted in June after three months of no games, meaning the fight continues for silverware.

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