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Sep 19, 2012

Liverpool, United plan Hillsborough tribute

Liverpool and Manchester United are to release 96 red balloons at Anfield on Sunday as part of a pre-match tribute to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

• Ferguson offers Liverpool backing
• Everton thanked for tributes
• United fans condemns chants

The opposing captains, expected to be Steven Gerrard and Nemanja Vidic, will make the gesture to honour the memory of the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the 1989 tragedy.

Fans on three sides of Anfield will also help to display a giant mosaic before the start of the Premier League match between the two teams.

And the match will be attended by representatives of three support groups - The Hillsborough Family Support Group, Hillsborough Justice Campaign and Hope for Hillsborough.

Details of the tribute were revealed as Liverpool prepare for their first home game since the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel's report into the tragedy, which cleared fans of any blame and found damning evidence of a cover-up by the police and ambulance services.

As the players of Liverpool and Manchester United walk on to the pitch, The Kop will form a mosaic displaying the words 'The Truth'.

The Anfield Road End opposite will show the number '96', while the Centenary Stand, which faces the players' tunnel, will reveal the word 'Justice'.

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre and United chief executive David Gill have liaised directly to oversee Sunday's tribute.

Talks are continuing, with United still to reveal full details of how they will respect the occasion.

Ayre said: "It is the first opportunity we have had as a football club to pay tribute at Anfield for what everyone has done - the families, the fans and various other people like Andy Burnham MP. It is a chance for everybody to show their respects."

Burnham was instrumental in the setting up of the Hillsborough Independent Panel and the full public disclosure of previously unseen files relating to the disaster.