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FA Cup: Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson thinks Man City semi-final should have been switched from Wembley

The only previous Wembley meeting between Pep Guardiola’s City and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool was the 2019 Community Shield

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson says it would “would make sense” to have switched the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Manchester City away from Wembley.

He was speaking after the Football Association said it would provide 100 free buses for fans attending the game.

Fans of both clubs and mayors of the respective cities had asked for a venue change given no trains are running from either city to London that weekend.

But the game will go ahead at Wembley.

The match is being shown live on BBC One, on Saturday, 16 April at 15:30 BST.

“I think this time, I’ve been thinking a bit more about the fans,” Henderson said. “In many ways it’s their day, and not being able to get down to London for different reasons – the cost of that… in my head it would make sense obviously to change it to a [different] neutral venue, especially with it being two teams from the north-west.

“That’s just my opinion. There’s obviously complications within that, I’m sure, which the FA have got to overcome but looking at the fans – which is probably the most important thing for me and something that we’ve learned over the past couple of years how important the fans are to football – it is really disappointing to see that it’s a struggle and it’s got to be expensive for them to get there.”

Henderson, who will hope to feature for England in Saturday’s friendly against Switzerland at Wembley (17:30 GMT), said he also thinks semi-finals should always be played away from the national stadium.

“I love playing at Wembley – I would like to keep Wembley for finals anyway,” he said.

“I think that was quite exciting, quite good and then obviously the final at Wembley to make it extra special.”

The FA said “unessential roadworks” will also be paused to aid journeys on the day of the semi-final.

“The FA recognises the significant challenges that are being faced by some Liverpool and Manchester City supporters with train services being severely limited,” an FA statement added.

The FA has also pledged “a number of free return bus services” for Manchester City fans attending the Women’s FA Cup semi-final away to West Ham at 12:15 on Saturday, 16 April.

Unlike the men’s semi-finals, which are held at Wembley each season, the women’s semis are not held at a neutral venue.

City’s trip to West Ham will be live on BBC One, while Arsenal’s game at home to Chelsea at 12:30 on Sunday, 17 April will be shown on BBC Two, with both semi-finals also available on BBC iPlayer.

FA resists calls to switch semi-final venue

In a joint letter to the FA, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and Liverpool counterpart Steve Rotheram had said keeping the game at Wembley would cause fans “excessive cost and inconvenience”.

They argued a lack of train services, due to engineering works, would “price fans out of the game” and lead to extra journeys on motorways already “stretched to capacity by bank holiday traffic”.

However, the FA has resisted calls to switch the venue, instead attempting to minimise travel disruption through talks with Network Rail, National Express and National Highways.

The free return bus journeys “will ensure that up to 5,000 Liverpool and Manchester City supporters will be able to travel to Wembley Stadium free of charge”, its statement said.

Wembley Stadium has hosted both FA Cup semi-finals - in addition to the final - since 2008
Wembley Stadium has hosted both FA Cup semi-finals – in addition to the final – since 2008

“Hundreds of miles of unessential roadworks will be put on hold to help supporters enjoy the occasion and enhance their journeys,” the FA added.

Places on the free buses must be pre-booked with the clubs involved.

Both FA Cup semi-finals have been played at Wembley since 2008 – before that, the semis had mostly been held at neutral Premier League grounds.

The other FA Cup semi-final is between London clubs Chelsea and Crystal Palace so there is no issue over the venue. That semi-final will take place on Sunday, 17 April, with a 16:30 kick-off.

FA Cup semi-final TV schedule and kick-off times (all BST)

Men’s semi-finals:

Manchester City v Liverpool – Saturday, 16 April, 15:30, Wembley Stadium, on BBC One and BBC iPlayer

Chelsea v Crystal Palace – Sunday 17 April, 16:30, Wembley Stadium on ITV and BBC Radio 5 Live

Women’s semi-finals:

West Ham United v Manchester City – Saturday, 16 April, 12:15, on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and BBC Radio 5 Live

Arsenal v Chelsea – Sunday, 17 April, 12:30 on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer and BBC Radio 5 Live

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