I’m not sure that football will be the focus of this coming Saturday.
I wasn’t at Hillsborough, but I was at the Arsenal game at the end of the season a month later. We lost 2-0, and thus the league. Losing the league was bad, but I was shocked at how many people were crying when the second goal went in…I knew about Hillsborough, but I really didn’t know anything about what it meant…but now, having read all the reports coming over the last 3 days, I have been close to tears so many times, and I realise I had no idea what it all meant at the time…or any day since until this week
It’s not the anger of reading about the 40 plus dead who were still alive after the coroners 3.15 cut off time, the 164 altered police statements, the 42 ambulances sitting outside, the FA putting the bigger LFC crowd in the Leppings End Lane, the conspiracy, the cover up the lies…
It was reading about the 16 year old who was at the back of the crowd at Hillsborough and spent the last 23 years in depression because he was made to believe by the authorities that he had helped kill fellow fans… Trevor Hicks whose 2 daughters died, revealing that for 6 months after he could only taste the vomit of his youngest daughter he was trying to revive…the graphic photos of the dead, the individual stories of tragedy that suck you into the horror of what they went through…that has brought tears to my eyes every time I have looked at the message boards…including the Man Utd and Man City sites, Chelsea, Celtic, Hamburg, St Pauli, Spurs…apart from the few idiots, there isn’t a fan or poster who isn’t shocked by the scale of the revelations, and the injustice that LFC have been put through for 23 years…and I know that there are some on this list who were unaware of the Hillsborough narrative who will be shocked at finding out what happened that day, and realising that a first world, “democratic” country, with an “independent” judiciary, and a “free” fourth estate, could be complicit in one of the biggest cover ups ever discovered…
Only the online petition finally forced the government to work for the people they are supposed to represent. And so, 23 years and 5 months to the day, we will play Sunderland in a match that will probably have very little meaning on the day to many of the people from Liverpool…
However, having said that, in the medium term, and to all the newer fans, this game will make a big difference to the pressure placed on BR and the club. Both teams have yet to claim maximum points in the league to date, with Liverpool picking up one draw and two defeats from three games, while Sunderland have two draws from their two fixtures.
The Reds face a hectic schedule playing seven times – in three different competitions and three different countries – over a period of 23 days, starting with the Sunderland fixture on Sept 15 and ending at the next international break following our home encounter with Stoke on October 7. How Brendan Rodgers utilises our relatively small squad could prove crucial during this period and the priority has to be on improving our position in the Premier League. We are likely to go with the following line up
Defenders: Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique
Midfielders: Sahin, Gerrard (c), Allen,
Strikers: Suarez, Borini, Sterling
At some stage, I would like to see Gerrard moved forward as the false 9, with Suarez and Sterling feeding Stevie G. At the end of the day, we need goals, and no one is more clinical. It might need to happen in any case, as the cupboard is bare up front and Suarez cannot be relied on for goals or to play every single game.
The blockbuster home clash with Manchester Utd on Sept 23 aside, the Reds have a good opportunity to boost our points tally over the next month and a half with league encounters against Norwich, Stoke, Reading and Everton, while we also have a Capital One Cup tie against W.B.A. as well as Europa League ties against Young Boys, Udinese and Anzhi Makhachkala thrown in for good measure before Halloween arrives.
If Liverpool can pick up close to 15 points from our next seven league games – which is not beyond us – then we should find ourselves in a relatively good position as we head into the final two months of the calendar year.