Manchester United took on Liverpool at Anfield just days after the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, with chants from sections of the crowd causing controversy
Manchester United have issued a statement labelling chants during the club’s Premier League trip to Liverpool “completely unacceptable”.
Offensive chants were heard from sections of the crowd at Anfield during United’s 4-0 Premier League defeat. It follows Manchester City issuing a statement of their own after a Hillsborough tribute was interrupted during the weekend’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
City boss Pep Guardiola and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp both issued responses of their own after the weekend’s events. “Some people did not understand the situation,” Reds boss Klopp said. “It is not nice, they are wrong in the moment. But it is nothing to do with Manchester City and we accept their apology.”
“Manchester United stands in solidarity with Liverpool FC and its fans in remembering the victims of the Hillsborough disaster,” a United spokesperson said. “Offensive chants about the tragedy are completely unacceptable and we will work with our supporters’ groups to educate fans on the issue.”
It was not the first time Liverpool have had to deal with references to the Hillsborough disaster, which claimed the life of 97 fans who had attended an FA Cup semi-final at the Sheffield ground. Chants were heard at meetings in 2014 and 2016, with condemnation following.
Tributes were paid on April 15 to mark the 33rd anniversary of the disaster, with former Liverpool defender Jose Enrique among those to pay tribute. “33 years ago today, 97 people lost their lives at an FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough,” the Spaniard wrote. “Our thoughts today and always will be with the families, friends and everyone affected by the tragedy on 15 April 1989. YNWA!”
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Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford and former Liverpool captain Jamie Carragher were also among those to pay their respects. The game at Anfield on Tuesday was the first at the ground since the anniversary, while Liverpool posted a tribute of their own in which they said: “Our thoughts, as always, are with all those affected by the tragedy at Hillsborough 33 years ago today and the 97 fans who will never be forgotten. You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Liverpool had beaten Manchester United 5-0 at Old Trafford earlier in the season and enjoyed another comfortable victory against their rivals in the return fixture. Top scorer Mohamed Salah scored a goal in each half, while Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane were also on the scoresheet for Jurgen Klopp’s team.
The victory means 22 points separate Liverpool and Manchester United, and dents the visitor’s hopes of Champions League qualification. United have just five league games remaining, compared to six for Liverpool.