Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he “doesn’t understand” why his team’s coach was attacked outside Anfield before their Champions League tie against Liverpool. The Spaniard also questioned why the incident was allowed to occur when police “knew it was going to happen”.
Liverpool apologised and called the behaviour “completely unacceptable”.
No players or staff were injured but two police officers were hurt and the coach was left unsafe to be driven.
Earlier on Wednesday, Merseyside Police had issued a statement saying the two team coaches would “not be taking their usual route” because of “building works and to ensure the safety of fans”.
Liverpool had asked their supporters “to gather to show their passion and support for the team… in a friendly, respectful and considerate manner”.
But as the City coach went past the stadium, a large crowd had gathered outside and cans, bottles and flares were thrown.
Speaking after his side’s 3-0 quarter-final first-leg defeat, Guardiola said he “did not expect” the incident to happen and referenced the attack on the Borussia Dortmund’s team bus last April, which left defender Marc Bartra injured.
“Normally when the police know it is going to happen, they tried to avoid it from happening,” said ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola. “So I did not expect it from the Liverpool side, their people.
“One year ago something happened in Dortmund.
“We come here to play football and I don’t understand this kind of situation.
“The bus is destroyed but I did not expect a prestigious club like Liverpool doing this kind of thing. It is not Liverpool, it is the people, maybe one, two or three, but hopefully it does not happen again.”
Liverpool said in a statement: “We apologise unreservedly to Pep Guardiola, his players, staff and officials caught up in the incident. The priority now is to establish the facts and offer Manchester City whatever support is necessary.”
Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said on BT Sport: “There’s no need for it. Scenes like this sour the night for the club.
“It is nothing that the club want to be associated with. We want a great atmosphere and we want to make it hostile for the opposition but certain individuals have overstepped the line and it’s bang out of order.”
Merseyside Police match commander Superintendent Paul White said the force “will conduct enquiries to identify who was responsible and bring them to justice”.
He added: “The officers and stewards are there to protect the public and keep them safe. It is disappointing to see that a number of people behaved in this appalling way.”