Relatives of victims, fellow supporters, current Liverpool players and staff and fans from around the world remembered the victims of the Hillsborough disaster 17 years ago on Saturday.
Every Premirship player, and manager, wore a special black armband with the eternal flame and the date ’15th April 1989′ on it (see picture below).
Liverpool’s match with Blackburn Rovers was moved to Sunday following supporters request not to play the game on the same day as the annual memorial service, held at Anfield.
They were joined by team mates, their manager Rafael Benitez, club officials and around 10,000 fans who packed the Kop to pay their respects.
During the emotional service, a candle was lit in front of the Kop for each of the 96 victims as their names were read out.
Thousands, including families of the victims, stood solemnly, many in tears, as a minute’s silence was held at 3.06pm – the exact time when the referee blew the whistle to abandon the game as the disaster unfolded 17 years ago.
The victims were crushed to death at the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday’s ground during an FA Cup semi-final.
Gerrard read Psalm 23, The Lord Is My Shepherd, and Fowler read from Isaiah 43:1, Fear not for I have redeemed you, while a choir assembled on the Anfield turf facing the Kop led the crowd in singing hymns.
The service culminated in a rousing rendition of the club’s famous anthem, You’ll Never Walk Alone, as the assembled masses held red and white scarves aloft.
Gary Burns, 34, from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, said: “The hardest part of the service was the end. Singing You’ll Never Walk Alone always brings a lump to your throat and a tear to your eye, but even more so today.”
Mr Burns, who himself survived the crush at Leppings Lane, added: “For everyone involved it is always emotional, but it was nice to see so many people there who remember and will not forget what happened. There were people from all over the country here and even from abroad.
“You always think back to what you were doing on that day, funny things like that go through your head. Strangely the weather was very similar to 1989.”