MANCHESTER (REUTERS) - Manchester United players were pictured arriving at Old Trafford for Thursday's (May 13) game with Liverpool six hours before the kick-off, as they sought to avoid fan protesters seeking to disrupt the English Premier League match.
The fixture was originally scheduled to be played on May 3 but was postponed after violent clashes between fans and police in which over 100 supporters forced their way into the stadium and stormed the pitch to protest against the club's owners - the Glazer family.
United's home game against Leicester on Tuesday went ahead without incident after a heavy police and security presence along with a "ring of steel" set of barriers around the Old Trafford venue ensured no access to fans, who are barred from the ground due to Covid-19 restrictions.
As part of the protests which stopped the Liverpool game from taking place, fans blocked the exit of the Manchester hotel that is regularly used by the club for the players' pre-game meal, meetings and rest.
But it appears that United broke from their usual routine on Thursday with pictures published on the websites of The Sun newspaper and the Manchester Evening News showing several players arriving early at Old Trafford.
A spokesman for United said the club would not comment on players' activity or timings.
Protests against the Glazer family, who bought United in 2005, reignited after the Americans were involved in a failed attempt to create a breakaway European Super League.
United owner and co-chairman Joel Glazer has promised he will meet fan groups to discuss their concerns.