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Why does Liverpool v Man City kick off at an unusual time?

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Why does Liverpool v Man City kick off at an unusual time?

Liverpool and Manchester City meet once again in the Premier League, but Sunday’s clash has been given a unique kick-off time as Pep Guardiola’s side arrive at Anfield for a potential title decider.

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds hold an excellent home record against Manchester City and Guardiola’s only victory at Anfield came in the season when matches were played without fans due to the pandemic.

Liverpool defeated City 1-0 at Anfield last season, in an ill-tempered clash packed full of incident, and now Klopp’s side lead Guardiola’s team by a point in the Premier League title race.

Tensions will be high as the champions return to Anfield and Klopp faces Guardiola on the touchline for potentially the final time in England.

The match will be kicking off at the unusual time of 3:45pm GMT on Sunday 10 March.

While televised matches on Sunday usually start at either 2pm or 4:30pm, with the later slot typically used for broadcasting the weekend’s standout fixture, it is believed the kick-off time was brought forward following a recommendation from local safety groups.

There have been incidents of fan trouble around Liverpool-Manchester City matches in recent years. The Manchester City team bus was damaged upon arriving at Anfield before a Champions League quarter-final in 2018 and ahead of a Premier League fixture in October 2022, the last time City played away at Liverpool.

Pep Guardiola also claimed to have coins thrown at him during the 1-0 defeat, while Liverpool condemned “vile” chants from the Manchester City supporters about the Hillsborough and Heysel disasters. Both clubs condemned “wholly unacceptable” incidents after a Carabao Cup tie in December 2022.

The kick-off time for the reverse fixture at the Etihad earlier this season was also moved. Even though it was shown on Sky Sports, the broadcatser took over the 12:30pm slot on Saturday 25 November, with TNT Sports instead taking the 5:30pm match.

Liverpool-Manchester City is not the only fixture to have it’s kick-off time changed on the advice of local authorities. The kick-off times for both Manchester derbies were also brought forward by an hour this season. They were played at 3:30pm on a Sunday, rather than 4:30pm, following an agreement between both clubs and local authorities.

Aston Villa’s home fixture against Tottenham, a key match in the top-four race, has been moved as a result and will kick off at 1pm on Sunday afternoon.

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