Sunday 26 February 2017

Anfield stars past and present join bereaved at last Hillsborough memorial

Pat Hurst

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (centre R) arrives with his players to attend a memorial service at Anfield in Liverpool, north west Engand on April 15, 2016, on the 27th anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster.
96 Liverpool supporters died at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the Hillsborough football ground in Sheffield, northern England. 2016 will be the final year a memorial service is held at Anfield. / AFP / PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (centre R) arrives with his players to attend a memorial service at Anfield in Liverpool, north west Engand on April 15, 2016, on the 27th anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster. 96 Liverpool supporters died at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the Hillsborough football ground in Sheffield, northern England. 2016 will be the final year a memorial service is held at Anfield. / AFP / PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

A sombre service has begun to mark the final Hillsborough memorial at Anfield, 27 years to the day after the tragedy.

Loved ones of the 96 who died have been joined at the home of Liverpool FC's by past and present club legends and around 25,000 ordinary fans to mark today's emotional anniversary.

Families of the 96 unanimously agreed this year's service, held annually on April 15 to mark the 1989 disaster, would be the last major public event at Anfield.

Today VIPs sat in the stands in honour of the fans who lost their lives as the service began on the pitch in front of the Spion Kop.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and his players received a rousing reception as they took their place for the service, following last night's last-gasp heroics in their Europa Cup tie.

England manager Roy Hodgson was also among the VIP guests in seats on the Kop, along with Kenny Dalglish and many of the team playing from the days of the disaster in 1989, including Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson. Former Anfield great Kevin Keegan was also in attendance.

The service began with the traditional football hymn, Abide With Me, before silence fell as the names of the 96 were read aloud.

All died after the crush on the Leppings Lane terraces at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium after going to see their team play Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final on April 15 1989.

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