Liverpool want to avoid playing on the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster and UEFA president Michel Platini says he will "do his utmost" to make it a reality.
The anniversary falls on April 15, one of two dates set aside for the second leg of this season’s Champions League quarterfinal ties, the other being the previous day. European governing body UEFA issued a statement from Platini on Monday, rejecting reports that they had snubbed the appeal by Liverpool. “We are aware of the huge significance of the April 15 date for both Liverpool FC and their fans, and that is why we will do our utmost to make sure that the club does not have to play its UEFA Champions League second leg quarterfinal match on that day,” Platini said. “This being the 20th anniversary of that tragic disaster in 1989 makes it even more relevant and we will take this into account.” Ninety six people died when Liverpool supporters were crushed at the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough on April 15, 1989, before the start of their team’s FA Cup semifinal against Nottingham Forest. A cousin of Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was among the dead, and the England midfielder has urged UEFA to be sympathetic to the club.
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Gerrard told Press Association at the weekend: “We’re still waiting to see whether UEFA will make us play on the day. That would be far from ideal given all the emotion that always surrounds the club on that day.” Liverpool have never played a game on the anniversary of the tragedy. The Champions League quarterfinal draw takes place on Friday with four English clubs in the draw and no seedings in place. Liverpool reached the quarterfinals with a superb 4-0 home win over Real Madrid last week and followed it up with a 4-1 thumping of Manchester United to revive their Premier League title hopes.