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Saturday 23 August 2014

Liverpool pay respects at memorial

Published 15/04/2014 | 06:37

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Family members of Keith McGrath lay flowers at the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield.
A fan arrives wearing a '96' shirt in memory of the Hillsborough disaster, before the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Photo credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
A fan arrives wearing a '96' shirt in memory of the Hillsborough disaster, before the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Photo credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
The Hillsborough memorial at Anfield
The Hillsborough memorial at Anfield

Liverpool's players will be in attendance as Anfield hosts the annual memorial service for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

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Tuesday marks the 25th anniversary of when 96 Liverpool supporters were killed at the Reds' FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest in Sheffield.

The whole Liverpool squad will be present along with directors, other staff and a number of former players and managers.

Current manager Brendan Rodgers will give a reading, as will Everton boss Roberto Martinez.

It is an emotional week for Liverpool, and a number of tributes were also held prior to Sunday's game against Manchester City.

Captain Steven Gerrard, whose 10-year-old cousin Jon-Paul Gilhooley was the youngest of the 96 victims, was in tears after his side's 3-2 win over one of their main title rivals.

Gerrard said: "The reason I was so emotional was because of when this game fell.

"It wasn't just because it was a big match in our season, it was because this week is always about more than football for everyone associated with Liverpool. It's emotional for so many people.

"I'm speaking on behalf of everyone when I say the win was dedicated to the victims and families of Hillsborough.

"All the squad will be present at the service to pay our respects as we should."

During the service, the number '96' will be laid out on the pitch in large figures made up of scarves donated by fans of all clubs and from various sporting institutions.

Kenny Dalglish, manager at the time of the disaster, assisted in this initiative by writing to all 92 League clubs as well as the English, Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh national teams for support.

The inspiration for the idea came from the 'mile of scarves' formed between Anfield and Goodison Park a week after the disaster in commemoration in 1989. More than 4,000 scarves were tied together.

The scarves will be donated to local good causes, including homeless charities, after the service by the Liverpool FC Foundation.

Next week, a celebration of the lives of the 96 victims is planned with a charity match in support of the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

A team of UK and Irish Liverpool legends, managed by Dalglish, will take on a side of international Reds greats, under the charge of Gerard Houllier.

The commemorations come a fortnight after fresh inquests into the deaths of the 96 victims opened in Warrington.

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