SPORT

Hillsborough Anniversary: Church Bells To Toll 96 Times In Liverpool

15/04/2014 08:17 BST | Updated 15/04/2014 14:59 BST

A silence will be observed across Liverpool and church bells will toll 96 times at 3.06pm, the exact time a quarter of a century ago that Liverpool and Nottingham Forest's FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough was abandoned.

Liverpool's first-team squad will be in attendance at Anfield for the annual memorial service 25 years on from the disaster, as the nation remembers the 96 supporters who lost thier lives in Sheffield in 1989.

Ninety-six Liverpool supporters supporters were killed at the Reds' FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest in Sheffield in 1989.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will give a reading at the service, as will Everton coach Roberto Martínez on what promises to be a poignant day on Merseyside.

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Liverpool paid tribute to the 96 at Anfield on Sunday

With a first league championship since 1990 within their grasp, it proves to be a testing week for Liverpool ahead of the weekend's Barclays Premier League fixture at Norwich City.

A number of tributes were held prior to Sunday's seminal victory against Manchester City, and captain Steven Gerrard, whose 10-year-old cousin Jon-Paul Gilhooley was the youngest of the 96 victims, was in tears after his side's 3-2 win over one of their main title rivals.

Gerrard said: "The reason I was so emotional was because of when this game fell. It wasn't just because it was a big match in our season, it was because this week is always about more than football for everyone associated with Liverpool. It's emotional for so many people.

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A view of floral tributes laid in memory of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster

"I'm speaking on behalf of everyone when I say the win was dedicated to the victims and families of Hillsborough. All the squad will be present at the service to pay our respects as we should."

During the service, the number "96" will be laid out on the pitch in large figures made up of scarves donated by fans of all clubs and from various sporting institutions.

Kenny Dalglish, manager at the time of the disaster, assisted in this initiative by writing to all 92 Football League clubs as well as the English, Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh national teams for support.

Hillsborough tributes

The inspiration for the idea came from the 'mile of scarves' formed between Anfield and Goodison Park a week after the disaster in commemoration in 1989. More than 4,000 scarves were tied together.

Next week, a celebration of the lives of the 96 victims is planned with a charity match in support of the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

A team of UK and Irish Liverpool legends, managed by Dalglish, will take on a side of international Reds greats, under the charge of Gérard Houllier.

The commemorations come a fortnight after fresh inquests into the deaths of the 96 victims opened in Warrington.