Steven Gerrard pays tribute to Hillsborough victims

Steven Gerrard has paid tribute to the Hillsborough victims by dedicating Liverpool’s win over Manchester City to remember the victims and families of the Hillsborough disaster.

The Liverpool captain, whose 10-year-old cousin Jon-Paul Gilhooley was the youngest of 96 people who lost their lives at the stadium crush in Sheffield, was reduced to tears at the end of Sunday’s 3-2 win, one that kept the Reds on track for Premier League glory.

Today is the 25th anniversary of the tragedy and Gerrard will lead his side to Anfield for an annual memorial service.

“The reason I was so emotional was because of when this game fell,” said Gerrard.

“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.

“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.”

The service will also be attended by the club’s directors and other staff, as well as a number of former players and managers, with Reds boss Brendan Rodgers and Everton counterpart Roberto Martinez due to give readings.

Rodgers feels proud to have been invited to read at the memorial service and says the campaign of the families has left a deep impression on him, having met relatives of the Hillsborough victims several times since becoming Liverpool manager.

“I feel very privileged. I came into the city in 2012 and knew obviously a bit of the background about what was going on but over the time I have been here it becomes your life,” he said.

“So to be asked to represent the families and victims of Hillsborough and to give a reading, I am very honoured and proud to do that.”

“When I was asked I had no hesitation. As the manager of this football club and the symbol for the people and in particular the families and victims, I had no hesitation. I will stand proudly and hopefully the reading will do them justice.”

The number ’96’ will be written on the turf at Tuesday’s service, made up of scarves donated by fans of all clubs and from various sporting institutions in an initiative instigated by Kenny Dalglish, manager at the time of the disaster.