Looking ahead to tonight’s Champions League quarter-final tie …
Liverpool v Juventus
Kick Off: 19-45 from Anfield.
As important a fixture as this Champions League Quarter Final between Liverpool and Juventus is, this game has an added importance beyond the football match itself.
On May 29 1985, at the Heysel stadium, Brussels, Juventus and Liverpool met for the European Cup final. The game was marred by disturbing events before kick off, when 39 Juventus fans were killed when a wall collapsed and mayhem spread. Before tonight’s match, Liverpool have planned a plethora of events which symbolise unity, friendship and also remembrance.
There will be a one minute silence before the game as an act of remembrance, the Juventus fans will be given an armband which is in the colours of black, white and red, with the word Friendship written in Italian and English. There is a special re-designed programme for the day, ex-Juventus and Liverpool legend Ian Rush is pictured wearing a football kit, with half the colours of Juventus and half the colours of Liverpool.
Phil Neal, the Liverpool captain on that fateful day, will help Kop fans carry a banner with the words, ‘in memory and friendship’ towards the Juve supporters.
When the teams enter the arena, the Liverpool fans will make a mosaic, with the word friendship in Italian and English as well as the Juventus and Liverpool crests.
One of the most significant efforts on behalf of Liverpool football club is the official apology printed in the programme by Chief Executive Rick Parry.
He told BBC Five Live: “It will be poignant. I hope we can give a very warm welcome to the Juventus supporters.
“It is about friendship and looking forward. It’s not just about the clubs, it’s important that each set of fans build bridges to each other.
“We very much regret what happened. I hope we can all forgive and forget and move on.”
Juventus manager Fabio Capello was a reporter at the ill-fated game twenty years ago.
He said: “It is a very nice thing indeed to have these two important teams playing a very important game,” said Capello.
“I am proud to be the coach of Juventus and to be meeting Liverpool again in remembrance of that sad event.”
Liverpool have Xabi Alonso on the bench for the first time in three months after recovering from a broken ankle. Morientes and Pellegrino are cup tied for the fixture, so Czech striker Milan Baros will play in a lone striker’s role, looking to get support from Luis Garcia and Steven Gerrard. They are still without long term injury lay off Djibril Cisse.
Juventus are locked in a battle with Milan for the Sccudetto in Italy. They are level on points with the conquerors of Manchester United. Juventus only have one injury doubt in David Trezeguet, who has not recovered in time from an ankle injury in time. He is likely to be on the bench.
Liverpool (from): Dudek, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Traore, Luis Garcia, Gerrard, Biscan, Riise, Nunez, Smicer, Baros, Carson, Welsh, Potter, Le Tallec, Warnock, Raven, Alonso.
Juventus (from): Buffon, Zebina, Cannavaro, Thuram, Zambrotta, Camoranesi, Emerson, Blasi, Nedved, Del Piero, Ibrahimovic, Trezeguet, Zalayeta.