Liverpool and Manchester United are in talks over staging lucrative pre-season friendly matches against each other at Anfield and Old Trafford this summer.
The pair – who have both seen their plans to join a European Super League go up in smoke in the past 48 hours – are both facing the possibility of being unable to travel for a money-spinning pre-season tour for the second summer in a row as travel restrictions remain in place during the pandemic.
The initial plans could see United take on Liverpool at Old Trafford in late July, with the two clubs then meeting at Anfield in early August.
The matches could serve as test events for clubs bringing back capacity crowds for the new Premier League season.
Liverpool and United have previously met in pre-season through their participation in tournaments such as the US-based International Champions Cup, but playing each other on their home grounds would be sure to add a competitive edge to the fixtures.
The news may be met with a cynical approach by some given the clubs’ role in failed setting up of the European Super League, which is now officially off the table after the six Premier League clubs involved pulled out on Tuesday.
Reds owner John W Henry has said sorry to the club’s fans for the move.
“I want to apologise to all the fans and supporters of Liverpool Football Club for the disruption I caused over the past 48 hours,” said Henry.
“It goes without saying but should be said that the project put forward was never going to stand without the support of the fans. No-one ever thought differently in England.
“Over these 48 hours you were very clear that it would not stand.
“We heard you. I heard you.”