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UEFA Exploring Neutral London Venue for Liverpool vs. RB Leipzig

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Germany’s travel ban will likely force the Reds’ Round of 16 tie to be played in some kind of altered form.

FBL-ENG-EUR-C1-LIVERPOOL-HOFFENHEIM Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

Liverpool’s Champions League tie against RB Leipzig does not appear to be in doubt, but exactly what form the scheduled-for-two-legs event between the clubs will take remains up in the air this week due to the first leg conflicting with German travel restrictions.

At present, there is a ban on arrivals from England, one currently set to expire on the 17th of February. The Reds are set to take on Leipzig at their Red Bull Arena on the 16th in the first leg of their tie. With UEFA coordinating, a solution for that first match is now being sought.

According to Sportsmail, a leading option would be to move that first leg to a neutral venue in England, with an unnamed stadium in London having already been contacted. That would allow the game to be played on the 16th before Leipzig fly home on the 17th.

While the expiring travel ban would allow the Germans to return the day after—assuming the ban is lifted as scheduled—moving the game from the 16th, a Tuesday, to the 17th and keeping it in Germany with the Reds flying in the morning of is not considered an option.

Another option that is said to have been rejected is reversing the order of the fixtures and playing the first leg at Anfield, similarly allowing Leipzig to fly home the day after. Liverpool are said to have rejected this option, wanting to keep the second leg at home.

This would appear to make a neutral first leg venue the most likely option—but one that leaves Leipzig’s options for returning to Germany at risk of an extended travel ban. Another option still on the table is said to be playing the tie as one-legged affair at a neutral site.

Leipzig have also applied for an exception to allow Liverpool to fly into Germany on the 15th, but with current guidelines not granting an exception for elite sport it is considered unlikely that it will be granted and that an alternative will need to be found.