Manchester United fans were heavily criticised for singing chants about Hillsborough and Heysel during last week’s Europa League last-16 first leg at Anfield.
UEFA opted against taking action against United because there was no mention of the chants in the match official’s reports - but they came across loud and clear on television and were unsavoury to say the least.
Amongst the chants sung by some of the United fans was this: “The Sun were right, you’re murderers” - per the Mirror - in reference to The Sun’s cover-up of the Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 people lost their lives. back in 1989.
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And according to Liverpool Echo journalists James Pearce and Neil Jones, a huge banner was hung over the M602 on Thursday afternoon - the motorway heading into Manchester - which reads ‘Murderers’. (Scroll down to see a photo of the banner).
Of course, there’s no way to prove that United supporters are responsible for the banner, but the timing could hardly be worse.
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Photo of the banner
Liverpool expected to progress
Thousands of Liverpool fans are travelling to Old Trafford for this evening’s second leg and there’s a risk of trouble breaking out between the two sets of supporters - particularly after last week’s events at Anfield.
Liverpool currently possess a 2-0 lead over their fierce domestic rivals thanks to goals from Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino in the first leg and are firm favourite to secure their place in the next round.
Louis van Gaal’s side were comprehensively beaten by Jurgen Klopp’s men and will need to produce an improved performance to stand any chance of progressing to the Europa League quarter-finals.
United condemned the chants
In a statement released after last week’s events at Anfield, Manchester United condemned their own fans’ chants and promised to speak to supporter groups to prevent something similar from happening again.
“It has always been the position of Manchester United that chants of this nature, which refer to historical tragedies, have no place in the game and do not reflect the values the club holds,” the statement read.
“We are in discussion with our fans’ groups to seek their support in preventing this type of behaviour in the future.”
However, it would come as no shock - particularly after this latest unfortunate incident involving the banner on the M602 - if the controversy continues at Old Trafford tonight.
Will Manchester United or Liverpool win tonight’s match? Have your say by leaving a comment below.