Soccer-Man United-Liverpool kick off delayed as fans protest against Glazers

By Simon Evans

MANCHESTER, England - Manchester United's Premier League match against Liverpool has been delayed after fans invaded the Old Trafford stadium and stormed the pitch in protest at the club's owners, the Glazer family, on Sunday.

The match was scheduled to start at 4.30 p.m. local time (1530 GMT) but the teams were yet to arrive at the stadium.

Around 200 United fans took to the pitch, some letting off flares and others carrying 'Glazers Out' posters.

They were quickly removed, although some returned.

The match was being played behind closed doors due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The club has not issued any statement on the incident but the Premier League confirmed on its live blog that the match had been delayed "after the security breach at Old Trafford."

"The safety of everyone at Old Trafford is paramount," the Premier League said before adding that there was no revised kickoff time as yet.

Fans also gathered outside the Lowry Hotel where United's players were preparing for the game. Approaching the scheduled kickoff time the team had yet to leave the hotel.

A large crowd of fans also gathered outside the ground, letting off green and gold flares -- the colours of United's shirts when they were formed as Newton Heath.

Mounted police moved in to try to clear the areas outside the stadium and there were some isolated incidents with bottles being thrown.

The planned protest follows United's initial decision to join a European Super League along with five other English clubs. The plans for that league fell apart within days due to widespread opposition.

Speaking ahead of the protest United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: "It's important that the fans' views are listened to and we communicate better. My job is to focus on the football side and that we have the best possible team."

(Writing by Martyn Herman in London and Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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