Manchester City have every right to voice their concerns at Liverpool fans’ call to arms ahead of their Champions League quarter-final clash next month.
The Reds aim to carry out another ‘coach greeting’ synonymous with the 2013/14 season when they gifted the Premier League title to Manuel Pellegrini’s City.
A poster has spread across social media requesting fans bring ‘pints and pyro’ to scare City back to Manchester ‘with their tails between their legs’.
The post encourages the illegal acts of consuming alcohol in a public place and setting off flares at the very least, but its deeper message is more worrying.
Most people have drank on the street and City fans have used flares themselves in recent years, so these infringements don’t really give Blues a leg to stand on.
However, it’s the events resulting from the alcohol and pyrotechnics that provide the club and their fans a cause for questioning Merseyside Police.
Many have defended the event as a greeting purely for the home team bus, but in reality this is far from the case.
Cute that City fans think that the Liverpool fans greeting the coach outside the ground is about them.
— Kevin (@emptyMINDZ) March 20, 2018
Recent coach greetings have gone much further than what some Liverpool fans claim is ‘just creating an atmosphere’.
The past few seasons have seen bricks and cans launched at opposition team buses against Villarreal and Borussia Dortmund.
These games were during knockout rounds of Liverpool’s 2015/16 Europa League campaign so it’s not unrealistic to expect the same before a European game of much higher prestige.
Is criminal damage then okay as long as it’s masked by a veil of red (illegal) smoke, and, if not, why are large numbers of Liverpool fans ridiculing City’s official police query?
Any attempt to build an atmosphere certainly shouldn’t disregard public order, yet some Liverpool fans seem to be turning a blind eye to what really happens.
What serious concerns? And what can the Police do? It isn’t illegal for fans to line the streets whilst singing and shouting. I think people forget it’s a free country, not a Police State!
— JackoTheRed (@JKloppsKop) March 19, 2018
After the dark days of hooliganism, football fans would like to believe an ‘atmosphere’ can be created without breaking the law.
Liverpool supporters claim to uphold this notion inside Anfield, although, barring ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ before kick off, that too is up for debate in recent years.
Following such a raucous event, some blues traveling to the game may also be concerned they could become the target after the team buses have passed.
In 2014 the Mail Online reported Liverpool youths smashed the window of an Anfield-bound City supporters’ minibus with stones and a brick.
The Reds also have a long history of causing trouble on European nights, not least the Heysel Disaster in 1985 which killed 39 and injured 600 fans.
That night their fans stormed a neutral area inside the ground, causing opposition supporters to crush those stood near a partition wall trying to escape.
All English teams were banned from European competitions for five years and Liverpool were banned for six as a result.
Times may have changed since then, but City supporters and club officials should feel no shame in being concerned for player and fan safety ahead of April 4.