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UEFA charge Man Utd, Liverpool over crowd trouble

Fans clashed and threw objects during the Europa League clash at Old Trafford

European football’s governing body UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Manchester United and Liverpool on Friday after fans clashed and threw objects during a Europa League tie at Old Trafford.

UEFA said in a statement that Manchester United faced charges of crowd disturbances, blocked stairways and the throwing of objects by supporters at Thursday’s match.

Liverpool, who progressed to the quarter-finals 3-1 on aggregate after Philippe Coutinho cancelled out Anthony Martial’s penalty opener to secure a 1-1 draw in the second leg, faced more charges.

They were listed as illicit chants, the setting off of fireworks, throwing of objects, crowd disturbances and a late kick-off.

The case will be heard by UEFA’s control, ethics and disciplinary body on May 19.

A handful of Liverpool fans sitting in the top tier of the East Stand, among the home supporters, unfurled a banner in the dying minutes of the game, sparking clashes in which punches were thrown and a seat hurled.

Liverpool fans in the lower tier of the stand began chanting “Munich” in a reference to the 1958 air disaster that killed 23 people including eight Manchester United players as the ‘Busby Babes’ flew home from a European Cup tie in Belgrade.

Police and stewards were forced to form a human shield to separate the two sets of supporters and Greater Manchester Police confirmed making five arrests and said they were investigating a “handful of concerning incidents”.

“The policing operation for the Manchester United v Liverpool match has now come to an end and towards the end of the game there were a handful of concerning incidents which are currently being investigated,” Superintendent Jim Liggett, match commander for the tie, told British media.

“We have made a total of five arrests.”

Fans also lit flares shortly after Coutinho equalised at the end of the first half.

In the first-leg at Anfield, Liverpool’s 2-0 victory was marred by a section of United supporters chanting about the Hillsborough stadium disaster, when 96 Liverpool fans died following a crush of bodies at an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest in 1989.

United avoided a UEFA sanction as the match officials did not mention the incident in their match report.

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