It came after many more blockaded the entrance to the Lowry Hotel where the United players and staff are staying.
This afternoon’s Premier League fixture, set to kick off at 4.30pm, will be delayed. Representatives from the two teams and the Premier League are set to convene and discuss the situation at 4pm.
Both teams have been held back at their team hotel by Greater Manchester Police, while match referee Michael Oliver was also delayed in accessing the ground.
Officials at Old Trafford convened an emergency meeting to determine whether any Covid-19 protocols had been breached following the stadium invasion. Fans were not due to be in attendance at the game.
There were clashes as fans tried to break police lines outside, with officers drawing batons to keep the crowds back and bottles and other projectiles thrown. A line of riot police, backed by horses, pushed the crowds back from the area where the players will enter the stadium.
Just after what should have been the scheduled kick-off time, police succeeded in pushing back the crowds and clearing the Old Trafford forecourt.
Hundreds of Manchester United fans have stormed the pitch at Old Trafford in protest at the club’s American owners ahead of Sunday afternoon’s match with Liverpool
These were the extraordinary scenes inside the stadium as protesters breached security to get onto the turf just two hours ahead of the Liverpool game
One fan among those who stormed Old Trafford grabbed the corner flag as they stormed the pitch ahead of the match
The crowd that breached Old Trafford perimeter gathered in front of the south stand, lighting smoke flares and chanting
Earlier, a section of the crowd shouted ‘we want Glazers out’ and ‘United, United’ as they ran onto the pitch. Outside the Lowry, others chanted ‘we decide when you play’.
One protester was filmed picking up a camera tripod from a pitchside media position inside the stadium and hurling it onto the pitch.
Others tried to get down the tunnel, while another took a corner flag and some swung from the crossbar of one of the goals. Many were clutching beer bottles.
Later, television footage from inside the ground showed a smaller number of fans still inside the stadium. Some clambered over the seating to taunt stewards before police moved in.
Thousands had assembled at an organised protest outside Old Trafford against the Glazer family and their efforts to sign United up to the European Super League.
Tensions escalated when police moved in to move the protestors away from the Old Trafford forecourt with batons drawn
Some fans lifted red barriers to hurl at the police lines as efforts were made to clear the Old Trafford exterior
Police attempted to clear the crowds from away from the player entrance and tunnel area at Old Trafford
Bottles and other projectiles were hurled at the riot officers from the protesting fans as tensions escalated
Riot police did manage to clear the area around Old Trafford at around 4.30pm – when the game should have started
A red flare is let off inside Old Trafford as Manchester United fans protest on Sunday after they breached security lines
The scale of the numbers protesting outside Old Trafford can be seen in this picture taken outside the east stand corner
Protesting fans set off smoke flares outside Old Trafford as they make their feelings known before some got inside
Flares in the club’s original colours of green and yellow were set off outside Old Trafford as fans made themselves heard
The Glazer family, United’s owners, signed the club up to the European Super League before making a u-turn 48 hours later amid a furious backlash
Thousands of United fans protested outside and inside Old Trafford against the Glazer family, who bought the club in 2005
Some demanded the installation of Germany’s 50+1 ownership model at the protest, which ensured voting right for the fans
Security personnel battled in vain to keep the protesters outside the stadium but barriers were kicked down
United were one of six Premier League clubs who initially signed up to the doomed Super League project last month. They all withdrew 48 hours later following a furious backlash from the wider football community.
Joel Glazer made an apology to supporters for signing up to the doomed Super League project but many United fans carried placards at the protest reading ‘apology not accepted’.
The departure of the team bus on the short journey from the Lowry Hotel in central Manchester to Old Trafford was delayed as police tried to force back the crowds and restore order.
A ring of riot police surrounded the steps leading up to the hotel entrance to allow the players to board the team coach safely but the United squad remained at the hotel an hour before kick-off.
Players were spotted looking out of windows on the third and fourth floors of the hotel as they awaited news as to whether the match would go ahead as planned.
Smoke bombs were set off both outside the Lowry and outside Old Trafford. Dozens of police in riot gear lined up to keep protesters at a safe distance from the entrance to the upmarket hotel.
A police officer deals with a smoke flare thrown through a glass window inside Old Trafford after fans breached the ground
Angry fans make their feeling known outside Old Trafford as part of Sunday’s protests against the unpopular Glazer family
Fans light coloured smoke flares in front of the ‘United Trinity’ statue of George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton
Fans told the glazer family their apology over joining the breakaway European Super League wasn’t accepted
Fans in green and gold protest scarves chant outside Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon ahead of the match with Liverpool
At Old Trafford, it is believed those who gained access to the ground did so via the Munich Tunnel, after pushing down barriers, despite the attempts of security guards to prevent that happening.
Once inside, they kicked footballs laid out for the pre-match warm-ups. Many of the fans wore green and gold scarves – the colours of Newton Heath, the predecessor of Man United – which have become emblematic of the anti-Glazer movement.
But the crowd did quickly disperse back outside the stadium after a few minutes at around 2.20pm, just over two hours before kick-off.
However, TV footage did later show a small pocket of protesters still in the stands in a corner of the stadium an hour later.
Some were filmed climbing over seats to goad security personnel in one corner of the stadium before police managed to move the group out through the tunnel area by the Stretford End.
The match carries great significance to the Premier League title race as Manchester City will be confirmed as champions if Liverpool beat United.
United were one of six Premier League teams signed up to the European Super League project – before being forced to u-turn
A masked supporter in a green and gold scarf with a smoke flare outside Old Trafford during Sunday afternoon’s protests