English Premiership

Reds remember Hillsborough

2014-04-13 21:37
Anfield (AFP)

Liverpool - Liverpool have marked the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster with a solemn minute's silence before their Premier League home game with Manchester City on Sunday.

Shortly before kick-off on a sun-soaked afternoon, players and fans stood with their heads bowed in memory of the 96 Liverpool supporters killed in a crush during an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on April 15, 1989.

A mosaic bearing the words '96, 25 YEARS' was held up by fans in Anfield's iconic Kop stand. The silence was broken only by the drone of planes passing overhead and the clicks of fans' smartphone camera shutters.

The match, was also preceded by a rendition of the Liverpool anthem, 'You'll Never Walk Alone', while former Liverpool and Manchester City players exchanged wreaths on the pitch.

Players from both teams wore black armbands during the key game which Liverpool went on to win 3-2.

In tribute to the victims of the tragedy, matches across England were moved back by seven minutes this weekend, reflecting the moment the fateful match at Hillsborough was called off.

A memorial service is due to take place at Anfield on Tuesday, which will mark exactly 25 years since the tragedy occurred.

Fresh inquests into the deaths of those killed at Hillsborough opened recently in Warrington, near Liverpool, after a campaign led by families of the deceased prompted the publication of a damning independent report in 2012 that criticised the authorities' handling of the disaster.

The original coroner's verdicts of accidental death were subsequently quashed, and two investigations are under way after evidence emerged that police sought to deflect the blame for what happened onto the fans.

Liverpool's game against City was billed as a Premier League title decider with both sides aware they will be crowned champions if they win all of their remaining games.

After watching his side prevail Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said: "Together, the players, the supporters and the staff, it was a wonderful victory for us.

"It's always emotive, especially around this time.

"We live with Hillsborough every day. The families and the victims are in our thoughts every day. It was an inspiration for us, rather than something that held us back.

"We will remember them again at the memorial service, but today it was about creating a different memory and it was a wonderful three points for us."

Writing in the match-day programme Rodgers had expressed solidarity with the families of the Hillsborough victims.

"Due to the inquest being open I will not go into too much detail on this topic," he said.

"What I can say is that everyone at Liverpool Football Club is standing shoulder to shoulder with the families while they go through this very traumatic process and also at this time of reflection, with it being such a significant anniversary.

"When we fall silent at 13:3 today our thoughts and prayers will be with the 96 supporters, watching us in the sky. They are our inspiration."

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Aston Villa v Newcastle United, Villa Park 13:45
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