LONDON: Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish believes it is appropriate that fans from both Merseyside clubs will come together in today’s FA Cup semi-final on the weekend which marks the 23rd anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

The two sides have not faced each other at Wembley since the 1989 final, less than two months after the tragedy which claimed the lives of 96 people on April 15.

Players of both teams will wear black armbands, floral tributes will be laid by Steven Gerrard and Phil Neville and there will be a period of silence prior to kick-off to commemorate the occasion.

Dalglish said: “It’s coincidental . . . but it’s going to be very emotive for everybody. The Evertonians were affected by Hillsborough as well as the Liverpool fans, with family members who never came home. It will be poignant and I’m sure both sets of fans will grace the minute’s silence with the dignity they’ve shown since 1989.

“The support the Liverpool people have had from Evertonians and vice-versa has been magnificent and they’re a credit to the city with the way they’ve handled themselves in a dignified manner and I’m sure that’ll continue.

“Every time both clubs have met in London both sets of fans have been an absolute credit to the city and I am sure this will be another occasion when they represent the city of Liverpool and their respective clubs very proudly.”

While remembering the Hillsborough victims will be paramount prior to kick-off, once the whistle goes the two near-neighbours will go into fierce battle for a place in the final next month.

“The fact it is a semi-final is big enough in itself,” said Dalglish. “The reward is big enough, although the opponents could have been made easier for us if we had got someone other than our city rivals. It is a huge game. It will be what happens on the day, the run-up to any game is irrelevant.

“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, we know how difficult it is going to be and know they will be as equally determined as we are to win.”

# # # #