Liverpool gather ‘substantial’ evidence on alleged spitting at Guardiola’s bench

Liverpool have collected “substantial evidence” regarding the alleged spitting by one of their fans at Manchester City’s bench during Sunday’s draw at Anfield and may pass this to Merseyside police regarding potential criminal charges.

The club said that if the supporter is found to be guilty they will be subject to its official sanctions process. It is understood this can include a lifetime ban.

City captured an image of the fan under suspicion and included this in a report sent to Liverpool. While the actual moment is not captured in the still, City had a camera fixed on their dugout throughout the 2-2 draw.

A Liverpool spokesperson said: “Following a complaint of a serious alleged incident near the dugout area at Anfield during the second half of Sunday’s game against Manchester City, we are conducting a full investigation, working with all relevant parties including Manchester City, to gather evidence from individuals who witnessed the incident as well as analysing all available video footage.

“The evidence collected to date is substantial and, if requested to do so, will be handed to Merseyside police given the potential for criminal charges. This case will also be subject to the club’s official sanctions process.

“Anfield is our home and we will ensure it is a safe, enjoyable environment for everyone attending and will not allow unacceptable isolated behaviour to impact on our club’s values and principles.”

It is understood Liverpool have compiled a number of statements from those seated around the dugout area and are actively working with City staff while also examining video footage. There is a firm belief there were a number of witnesses who can verify the allegation should the suspected supporter deny culpability.

City have not made a complaint to Merseyside police but it is understood the club is keeping all options open.

While spitting at any time is considered reprehensible, for this to have allegedly occurred during a time where the pandemic means hygiene is vital has caused particular disquiet.

“I didn’t see it but I hear about it,” Pep Guardiola said after the game “The people told me this happened. I am pretty sure Liverpool FC is going to take a measure against this person. I know Liverpool is greater than this actions.

In every club there are people who make a bad action because of their emotions.”

In 2018, Doncaster banned a person from attending games after an incident during their game at Bristol Rovers. A ballboy was allegedly spat at by the fan in the away end.