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Should Everton insist Merseyside Derby be played at Goodison?

What difference does it make, really?

Everton FC v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Reports have it that Everton are still trying to host the Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park despite the clash being identified as one of the contentious games that will likely be played at a neutral venue [Irish Times].

The Premier League continues to be on track for a June 17th resumption in action, and the Toffees first game back from the coronavirus-enforced break is scheduled to be the fixture against Liverpool, with a further eight games on the cards after that for the Blues before the season is potentially concluded on July 25th.

A number of those 92 fixtures left have been identified as potential security and safety issues especially those featuring the champions-in-waiting Liverpool as fans are expected to gather in violation of strict social distancing rules to celebrate the Reds first ever Premier League title. Should Manchester City drop any points in their make-up game against Arsenal, then a win over the Toffees will seal Liverpool the trophy.

Everton though have requested a meeting with the Liverpool City Council local safety advisory group, with Merseyside police saying they had no objections to policing local matches, including the derby.

Both Everton and Liverpool have expressed dissatisfaction with plans to play at neutral venues, and the Blues have gone on to ask the advisory group to convene a discussion comprising the clubs, supporter groups, Liverpool council, police and other emergency services plus the Sports Grounds Safety Authority.

That advisory group will then recommend whether a safety certificate required to stage the game should be issued. While Premier League clubs meet on Thursday to discuss Project Restart, the advisory group meeting will only make a decision after that, possibly next week.

Whether or not Liverpool can clinch the title at Goodison, it is interesting that the Blues are insisting that they can host the fixture despite the very real possibility that Reds will likely congregate outside the stadium no matter what.

The only reason to reiterate this game be played at Goodison would be for home advantage, though with no fans in the stands that really makes little difference. Without that, why bother the local authorities then? Why not let any marauding Liverpool fans go wreak havoc elsewhere instead of disturbing the peace on Merseyside?

Everton - remaining 2019-20 fixtures