It's been so emotional: Rodgers hails his players after a traumatic week
22:30 GMT, 15 September 2012
Brendan Rodgers paid tribute to Liverpool’s players after they fought back to win a point at Sunderland at the end of ‘an emotional week’, in which their fans were finally exonerated of any blame in the Hillsborough Disaster 23 years ago.
The report into the tragedy was published this week and blamed the authorities for the 96 Liverpool fans who died as a consequence of the crush during the FA Cup semi-final with Nottingham Forest.
'Emotional week': Liverpool fans display banners and wear t-shirts at the Stadium of Light on Saturday in support of the 96 people who died at Hillsborough in 1989
In the hot seat: Rodgers watches on as his team take on Sunderland
The drama and emotions of the week took their toll on Liverpool’s preparations for the trip to Sunderland.
But after Luis Suarez cancelled out Steven Fletcher’s first-half opener, Liverpool dominated the match to finish such a difficult week on a high.
‘The players have been terrific,’ said Liverpool manager Rodgers. ‘It’s been a difficult week for the city and everything involved in it, and some of the players have been involved in the tragedy in terms of relatives.
‘It’s been very emotional, but when you sign for Liverpool that’s part of the contract. You also sign an agreement with the fans, an emotional one, and that’s part of playing for Liverpool.
‘The support we got from them was exceptional and they kept driving a young team on.
‘We wanted to give hope for two reasons – for ourselves, because we have shown progress over the last few weeks, and to end the week for the supporters. It has been very difficult for them but it has been a good point all round.’
Sunderland showed their support by lowering all the flags at the Stadium of Light to half mast, a tribute they normally reserve for the anniversaries of the Bradford Fire and the Hillsborough Disaster, while Liverpool’s players warmed up with black training tops with 96 emblazoned on the back.
Point made: Liverpool celebrate Luis Suarez's equaliser