SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 27, 2022: The Bobby Moore statue and Wembley arch seen before the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 11-10 on penalties after a goal-less draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

League Cup final kick-off could be moved amid police safety concerns

The kick-off time of next month’s League Cup final against Chelsea could reportedly be moved amid safety concerns from police.

Liverpool set up a re-run of the 2022 showpiece with a 3-2 aggregate win over Fulham, with Chelsea booking their place a day earlier by thrashing Championship side Middlesbrough 6-2 over two legs.

It means the two clubs will face off in a domestic final for the third time in three seasons, but the pre-arranged kick-off time could be moved if police get their way.

The match was set to take place at 4.30pm (GMT) on Sunday February 24, but the Daily Mail have reported that the Metropolitan Police want it to happen no later than 3pm.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 27, 2022: Supporters walk up Wembley Way before the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is suggested that the authorities are concerned about potential clashes between both sets of supporters, following incidents that took place before the home meeting last January.

Despite neither of the 2022 finals eliciting significant crowd trouble, the Met are keen to reduce any potential threat and are wary of any repeats from 12 months ago.

It comes after last season’s final was shifted from a 5.30pm start, when rivals Man United and Man City met for the first-ever time in a major final.

The potential change wouldn’t have particularly significant implications for travelling Chelsea supporters given their relatively small commute.

It would, however, mean an earlier start for Liverpool fans making their way to Wembley from Merseyside.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 27, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Unfortunately, it appears football supporters are still being treated like criminals with little consideration for the other consequences.

In 2022, both Liverpool and Man City – and the Labour Party – pulled together to push for the FA Cup semi-final to be moved away from Wembley due to train strikes and travel restrictions.

Those efforts were in vain, with the game going ahead in London but ticket credits not being taken into account for Reds fans as a result.

Whether the police are successful in their attempts to get the game moved remains to be seen, but a decision is likely to be made sooner rather than later given that the final is less than a month away.