Tag Archives: Hillsborough Disaster

Liverpool v Manchester United Preview

One of English football’s oldest and fiercest rivalry will be renewed this Sunday as Liverpool and Manchester United go head-to-head at Anfield.

The encounter promises to be an emotionally-charged affair, marking the Reds’ first home game since the recent report into the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy in which 96 Liverpool supporters lost their lives. United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has already confirmed the Red Devils will offer any assistance possible in ensuring the day goes smoothly, calling for mutual respect from both sets of fans.

The lastest fixture between the two sides at Old Trafford saw Liverpool’s Luis Suarez refuse to shake the hand of Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during the pre-match hand-shake following a much-publicised race storm, but reports ahead of Sunday’s game suggest there will be no such incident at Anfield, with the players not expected to cause further controversy on such an emotional occasion. The two teams are also expected to release 96 red ballons before the match as a tribute to those who passed away in the disaster.

TEAM NEWS

Liverpool

Manager Brendan Rodgers will bring back his big names for the visit of Manchester United. Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Joe Allen and Martin Kelly were rested for the 5-3 Europa League win at Young Boys but will return as they go looking for their first Barclays Premier League victory of the season. Forwards Fabio Borini and Raheem Sterling, substitutes in Switzerland, are likely to start while midfielder Jonjo Shelvey pressed his claims for inclusion with a two-goal second-half cameo.

Manchester United

Winger Ashley Young has been ruled out for two to three weeks with a “bruised cartilage”, Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed. The 27-year-old missed out on the England squad for the World Cup 2014 qualifying double-header against Moldova and Ukraine this month, and Ferguson now expects to be without the player until October. The United manager has also ruled out Wayne Rooney but could feature next weekend, while Darren Fletcher would play from the start in Wednesday night’s Capital One Cup tie at home to Newcastle United. The Scotland midfielder came on as a substitute in the 1-0 Champions League win over Galatasaray in midweek, his first competitive outing since last November.

HEAD TO HEAD

Played – 185
Liverpool Wins – 62
Draw – 51
Manchester United Wins – 72

HEAD TO HEAD FIXTURES (LAST FIVE)

11-Feb-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool
28-Jan-12 – FA Cup – Liverpool 2-1 Manchester United
15-Oct-12 – Premier League – Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United
06-Mar-11 – Premier League – Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United
09-Jan-11 – FA CUp – Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool

FORM GUIDE

Liverpool – WDLDD
The Reds are yet to register a win in the Premier League this season under new manager Brendan Rodgers and he will be desperate to break that duck against their fierce rivals.

20-Sep-12 – Europa League – Young Boys 3-5 Liverpool
15-Sep-12 – Premier League – Sunderland 1-1 Liverpool
02-Sep-12 – Premier League – Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal
30-Aug-12 – Europa League – Liverpool 1-1 Hearts
26-Aug-12 – Premier League – Liverpool 2-2 Manchester City

Manchester United – WWWWL
United come into this match on the back of four back-to-back wins in all competitions and are sitting second behind Chelsea in the Premier League table.

19-Sep-12 – Champions League – Manchester United 1-0 Galatasaray
15-Sep-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 4-0 Wigan Athletic
02-Sep-12 – Premier League – Southampton 2-3 Manchester United
25-Aug-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 3-2 Fulham
20-Aug-12 – Premier League – Everton 1-0 Manchester United

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
The Uruguayan will surely be the one to watch when these two sides meet tomorrow at Anfield. Suarez has dominated all the talk in the last two games between these sides at Anfiedl, but for different reasons. His mesmerizing performance helped Liverpool outclass United in March 2011 while the incidents involving him and Patrice Evra made the headlines after the last league game. With the ability to produce something out of the extraordinary, he will be hoping to do his best to help his team beat their fierce rivals while his battle with Evra will also not go unnoticed.

Robin van Persie (Manchester United)
The 28-year-old striker could not have asked for a much better start to life at Old Trafford. After scoring on his full debut against Fulham, with his very first shot, the ex-Feyenoord man then notched a hat-trick in the very next game against Southampton. Liverpool know all too well about van Persie’s predatory instincts after he scored both goals in the 2-1 win for his former side Arsenal at Anfield last season. Centre-back pairing of Agger and Skrtel will have improve on their showings so far this season if they are going successfully stop Dutchman from scoring.

PROBABLE LINEUPS

Liverpool (4-3-3): Pepe Reina; Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Jose Enrique; Steven Gerrard (C), Joe Allen, Jonjo Shelvey; Fanio Borini, Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling.

The regular first teamers are expected to return after rested against Young Boys. Reina will start in goal, with Johnson, Skrtel and Agger to take back their regular positions. Jose Enrique might get the nod ahead of Martin Kelly in the starting XI. Gerrard and Allen will be back in place Henderson and Suso, while Shelvey is expected to keep his place in the side at the expense of Nuri Sahin, following his two goal second half cameo. Sterling will provide the Reds with natural pace and width on the left, while Suarez and Borini will complete the rest of the front three.

Manchester United (4-4-1-1): David De Gea; Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic (C), Patrice Evra; Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Nani; Shinji Kagawa; Robin van Persie.

Not many changes are expected to be made to the side that defeated Galatasaray at Old Trafford during the midweek. De Gea, Rafael, Vidic and Evra are all expected to keep their place in the defence, while Ferdinand will come in for Evans. The rest of the side is expected to be the same with Valencia and Nani on the wings and Carrick and Scholes in the centre of the midfield. Kagawa, who has excelled in the role behind striker, will start again behind Van Persie, who will lead the line on his own.

OPTA FACTS

  • 0 – Danny Welbeck has had 0 shots on targets in the Premier League this season, despite 10 attempts. 7 of them came in last week’s win over Wigan.
  • 2 – Nemanja Vidic has been sent off in his last 2 games at Anfield. 3 of his 4 red cards in the Premier League have been against Liverpool.
  • 2 – Liverpool have won just 2 of their 11 Premier League games at Anfield in 2012 (W2 D4 L5).
  • 4 – Robin van Persie scored both the goals in the 2-1 win against Liverpool for Arsenal at Anfield last season and has netted 4 times in his last 5 games against the Reds
  • 12 – Luis Suarez has created more goalscoring chances than anyone in the Premier League (12), but has yet to register an assist.
  • 75 – Liverpool have had 75 shots so far this season – the joint-most in the Premier League – but only 15 of them have been on target.

REFEREE

Name – Mark Halsey
Based – Lancashire
Age – 51
Games – 3
Yellow Cards – 6
Red Cards – 1

MATCH ODDS

Liverpool 7/4, Draw 9/4, Manchester United 13/8

PREDICTION

It has been an emotional week in the North West after the Hillsborough report’s release and the emotional atmosphere might play spoilsport. The two sets of players will have to rise above the occassion to make the game a football spectacle. These derbies are rarely open, free-flowing, end-to-end affairs, so expect a cage game until the first goal is scored. United are in form having won three of their four Premier League games, with summer signing Van Persie scoring four in his two starts. But Liverpool are a hard team to break down at home, especially against Manchester United and their ability to take their chances might decide the outcome of the game.

Predicted Score: Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United

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Reaction To The Report

Newly published documents about the tragedy have revealed that the police and and emergency services made “strenuous attempts” to deflect the blame for the Hillsborough disaster onto innocent fans.

The disclosures were made by the Hillsborough Independent Panel with Prime Minister David Cameron offering a “profound” apology to the families of the 96 people who died. Here are how some leading people in football have reacted to the panel’s findings..

Liverpool Football Club statement:

April 15th 1989 will forever be etched on the minds of everyone connected with Liverpool Football Club. It was a day when 96 supporters attended a football match and never came home.

Over the last 23 years the families who lost loved ones and the survivors of this terrible tragedy have shown immense dignity and resilience in their tireless campaign for justice.

For 23 years they have campaigned for the full disclosure of documents relating to the disaster and for someone to take responsibility for what happened. Today, following years of inquiries, investigations and setbacks, the Hillsborough Independent Panel has announced its findings in relation to the disaster.

Liverpool Football Club commends the Hillsborough Independent Panel report which acknowledges the avoidable catastrophic failures before, during and after the disaster. The club also welcomes the Prime Minister’s apology to the families and survivors on behalf of the Government and await the Attorney General’s pending review of the report. After 23 long and painful years, our fans have finally been fully exonerated of all blame. Today, the world knows what we have always known, that Liverpool fans were not just innocent on that terrible day but that there was reprehensible and hurtful misrepresentation of the truth.

Liverpool Football Club would like to thank the Hillsborough Independent Panel for its rigorous work over the past two-and-a-half years and for publishing a comprehensive report based on the in-depth research and analysis into hundreds of thousands of documents.

Tom Werner, chairman, Liverpool Football Club:

“On behalf of myself, John and everyone at the club, I would like to extend our thoughts and prayers on this hugely significant and deeply emotional day to everyone affected by the Hillsborough disaster. Today the world has heard the real truth about what happened at Hillsborough.

“As a football club, we will continue to remember those who died and support the families who lost loved ones on that terrible day. We hope that today’s findings will give some comfort to the families and survivors and go some way to addressing some of the key questions that have hung over the Hillsborough tragedy for the last 23 years.”

Steven Gerrard, Liverpool captain:

The courage and dignity shown by the Hillsborough families and survivors is an example to all of us.

For 23 years they have fought for truth and justice on behalf of the victims and survivors of this terrible tragedy and all Liverpool supporters.

Victims and survivors suffered not just on April 15, 1989 in Sheffield, but for over two decades afterwards with the shameful slandering of their actions by people who abused their position and power.

Speaking as someone whose family directly suffered, I know the pain and hurt will remain.

However, I hope that today’s report helps bring some comfort, now that everyone knows what happened on that day.

Ian Ayre, Managing Director, Liverpool Football Club:

“My Reaction – I guess three things. Firstly, sadness. Sadness that this whole tragedy was avoidable, and that even when it happened more could have been done to save lives. Secondly, anger. Anger at the cover up we now see, and knowing that our fans, the families and victims have been unnecessarily troubled for 23 years because of that. And thirdly, pride – because I think anyone connected to Liverpool Football Club can be proud today, proud at what the families, our fans around the world and fans of other football clubs have contributed to what we have achieved today. The hard pressure and hard work that people put in, the dedication people put in, and the tireless efforts that delivered all that happened today – that gives us great pride as a football club.”

Jamie Carragher, Liverpool vice-captain:

It has [been emotional]. It’s been a big day that everyone was waiting for. We were all talking about it this morning when we got in and waiting for it come on TV to see what the outcome was. It is an emotional day and everyone will have different emotions – some people will be really happy at how it’s come out, and some people may still be angry about it and that’s understandable as this has been covered up for 23 years. I think there will be a lot of different emotions, but as a football club I think we’re all pleased for the families and the people who have been fighting for this for so long. There is a lot of credit due to a lot of different people. Most importantly, it’s great for the families and for the 96.

Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool manager:

The fight has gone on for 23 years and to get the fruition that they got today, it’s obviously justice in terms of all the heartache that the families and the people have gone through. It has been so inspirational in terms of the fight and being here tonight at the vigil has been very touching and very moving. The families will all go away from today with hope, and that’s obviously very important. 

Bill Kenwright, chairman, Everton Football Club:

“Everyone associated with Everton Football Club welcomes today’s report.

“We have watched with both sadness and admiration as the families who have been fighting for justice since 1989 have battled on, no matter what obstacles they have come up against. More than anything we hope that today’s statements bring them closer to the peace that every grieving mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, relative or friend deserves.

“Every football fan stands united in their quest – especially the team across the park.”

Reaction on Twitter