Gerrard: Hillsborough match can inspire Liverpool to glory

The England skipper hopes Brendan Rodgers’ squad can use the memories of the 96 fans who died in 1989 to push them towards the Premier League title 25 years on

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes a legends match to celebrate the lives of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster could provide the inspiration his side need to succeed in the title race.

Gerrard has led the Reds to second place in the Premier League table with 10 matches to play, including several key clashes, starting with Sunday’s trip to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United.

And the England captain is hopeful the current squad will be eager to commemorate the lives of the 96 supporters who died in 1989 after taking part in an all-star encounter on April 21.

“What is most important is that we keep in everyone’s minds how the fight for the families still continues,” he told reporters.

“But after this occasion if the team can use that to take inspiration for the rest of the season then that would be fantastic.”

Gerrard will form a crucial part of Kenny Dalglish’s British XI on the day, with former Kop favourites Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman and John Barnes already signed up to take part.

They will face an Overseas XI, managed by Gerard Houllier, with Jan Molby, Dietmar Hamann and Luis Garcia amongst the stars, and Dalglish stressed the two teams will be keen to give their all to the occasion.

“It’s really important that the football club has really loyal supporters. We had that 25 years ago, and when the supporters were in a bit of trouble it was our turn as a football club to show our support to them,” he said.

“There was a special bond between the supporters and the club before then and it’s increased since. It was important to show our respect for them as they had done it many times in the past for us.

“Everybody that wants to come along and play wants to because they know the importance of Hillsborough to the football club.

“They might have put on a few inches, and some of them might have lost a bit of pace, but they’ve been brought up wanting to win, and on the day they’ll be trying their best not to embarrass themselves and put on a show that people are going to go home and have enjoyed.”

The match will raise funds for both the Hillsborough Family Support Group as well as the Liverpool Foundation, with Margaret Aspinall, the chair of the former, keen to express her thanks to those who have supported the families throughout the 25 years since the disaster.

“It’s not just about the personalities who have supported us, but also the club has itself been fantastic to the families,” she said.

“The support we’ve had from the fans, the city itself and all over the world, has been fantastic and we can’t thank them enough. We just hope they will show their support on the day.”

The ‘Celebration of the 96’ match will be played at Anfield on April 21, with tickets available from March 14, priced at £15 for adults and £5 for children.

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