Strikes set to hit the rail network could disrupt a key Liverpool FC match as one of the region’s top political figures has warned that Merseyrail executives are refusing to hold talks with workers.

Unions announced a new set of strike dates on the region’s railways as part of a long-running dispute over whether to keep guards on the trains.

It means that workers will stage six new 24 hour walk outs unless they get a deal with management, meaning passengers could face lengthy delays and changes to services.

The first new strike date, on Saturday, August 24, coincides with Liverpool’s home clash with Arsenal and means matchgoers could face difficulties getting to Anfield.

Now city region metro mayor Steve Rotheram has intervened in the row – but warned that Merseyrail management had to drop their ‘reported refusal’ to hold further discussions over future guard roles.

In a letter to Merseyrail chief executive Andy Heath, metro mayor Rotheram wrote: “I was genuinely hopeful (and it was my understanding) that ACAS talks were heading towards an agreed settlement but this is clearly no longer the case.

“Therefore, with this route exhausted I now feel, as the Metro Mayor, there is a need for me to intervene directly to try to bring about a deal supported by both sides.”

The metro mayor’s office confirmed that he is set to hold talks with the RMT’s general secretary and local reps later this month and is aiming to follow that with direct discussions with Merseyrail.

The strikes are set to be held on August 24, September 3, 5 and 30 and October 2 and 4.

Merseyrail have been contacted for comment.