Man United and Liverpool ally for Hillsborough tribute
22:08 GMT, 18 September 2012
Liverpool have revealed details of the tribute that will be paid to the 96 Hillsborough victims this weekend when they return to Anfield for the first time since the damning report about the tragedy was published.
A mosaic will be displayed on three sides of the ground – the Anfield Road End, the Centenary Stand and the Kop – before Sunday's game against Manchester United to spell out '96', 'Justice' and 'The Truth' ahead of kick-off.
Memorial: Liverpool's game against United will mark the first at Anfield since the Hillsborough report
Then 96 red balloons will be released by opposing captains Steven Gerrard and Nemanja Vidic to honour the memory of those who lost their lives on April 15, 1989, while representatives from three support groups will be present.
United are still in negotiations with Liverpool and are determined to respect the occasion but they will not yet reveal how.
Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre, who has thanked neighbours Everton for the poignant show of support before Monday's game against Newcastle, says the club are determined to show their appreciation for those who have campaigned tirelessly to get the truth published.
Merseyside United: Liverpool's rivals Everton paid their respects before Monday's game against Newcastle
'It is the first opportunity we have had as a football club to pay tribute at Anfield for what everyone has done – the families, the fans and various other people like Andy Burnham MP,' said Ayre.
'It is a chance for everybody to show their respects.' Sir Alex Ferguson is adamant United will do everything possible to provide their assistance this weekend.
'As a club, we are totally supportive of Liverpool in this situation,' said the United manager.
'It's going to be a very emotional day on Sunday and we will support them in every way that we can. We are in complete support of Liverpool Football Club at this moment in time and we understand what those families must have felt reading the report.'
Liverpool will travel to Switzerland today for their first Europa League game against Young Boys Berne without several key players. Gerrard, Luis Suarez and Pepe Reina will all stay at home to prepare for the United game.