Manchester United vs Liverpool: Police and Old Trafford security increased ahead of expected protests

More substantial barricades and barriers are now in place around the entire Old Trafford footprint, including all around the forecourt and the Trinity Statue; increased security involves a far bigger number of police from forces around the country, plus dogs and horses

Manchester United
Image: Manchester United's game against Liverpool at Old Trafford on May 2 was postponed

Manchester United have increased security at Old Trafford, including police from around the country, amid calls for fans to participate in another protest ahead of Thursday's rearranged fixture with Liverpool.

An anonymous fans' group is encouraging United supporters to congregate outside the stadium ahead of the Premier League clash, which was postponed on May 2 after protestors broke into the ground and assembled on the pitch, following the resumption of their fight against the Glazer family's ownership.

More substantial barricades and barriers are now in place around the entire Old Trafford footprint, including all around the forecourt and the Trinity Statue. A lot of the barriers are also multi-layered.

Increased security involves a far bigger number of police from forces around the country, plus dogs and horses. Police and security are already in place at the ground with reinforcements spread across the entire site.

Fans hold up a banner as they protest against the Glazer family, owners of Manchester United, before their Premier League match against Liverpool at Old Trafford, Manchester. Issue date: Sunday May 2, 2021.
Image: Fans hold up a banner as they protest against the Glazer family

United's game against Leicester on Tuesday was something of a dress rehearsal as intel has always been that the Liverpool match would be the focal point.

A planned demonstration was scheduled to start at 5pm on Thursday, but there are already reports of some fans gathering in Manchester city centre.

    The supporters' group has talked about 10,000 fans possibly attending on Thursday, but recent protests saw around 2,000 fans show up at the ground on May 2 and around 500 the weekend before.

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    The game against Liverpool, which is United's second midweek clash of the week after Tuesday's defeat by Leicester, is scheduled to kick-off at 8.15pm, live on Sky Sports.

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    Speaking before that match, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has called on fans to avoid further violent protests.

    "Security measures are being looked at and I hope we can keep the protests, if there are protests, keep them down to loud voices and nothing violent," Solskjaer said.

    "We want to listen, the players want to play the game, we're playing Liverpool and of course we want to beat Liverpool so we're going to do everything we can for our fans to celebrate what we're doing on the pitch."

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    Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said on Wednesday he has no concerns for the safety of his players ahead of the rearranged trip.

    "No concern [for player safety]. We trust the authorities, we were not in danger last time. I have no idea what happens but I am not concerned," he said.

    Manchester United have already increased security at their Carrington training ground after an incursion by protesting fans last month.

    Police were called when around 20 protestors, carrying banners, accessed Carrington, making their way towards the reception of the training complex and to the first-team training area.

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    Thursday's planned protest is the first since United's co-chairman Joel Glazer said he was "personally committed" to strengthening how the club communicates with its supporters last week.

    That was in response to Manchester United Supporters' Trust (MUST) writing an open letter to Glazer, urging the club's owners to engage in fan consultation, with the American adding that he wanted to "accelerate" discussions regarding potential fan-share ownership.

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