Belfast Telegraph

Our fans will respect Hillsborough victims: Sarri

Maurizio Sarri
Maurizio Sarri

By Nick Purewal

Maurizio Sarri has urged Chelsea supporters to respect Liverpool's tributes to the Hillsborough victims this weekend.

Liverpool host Chelsea in tomorrow's Premier League action at Anfield, the day before the 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

A minute's silence will be held before kick-off in memory of the 96 people who died at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on April 15, 1989.

In a week when three Chelsea supporters were denied entry to the Blues' Europa League clash at Slavia Prague on Thursday for their involvement in a social media video racially abusing Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, head coach Sarri believes the fans will pay their rightful respects.

"I think it's a very good opportunity for our fans," said Sarri. "I didn't want to speak about the video because I didn't see it, so it's not right to speak about something you don't know about.

"But for our supporters it's a great opportunity. I'm sure that 99 per cent of our fans will have a very great day in Liverpool."

Fans at Anfield will reveal special mosaics, while both teams will wear black armbands and tributes will be displayed on LED boards surrounding the pitch.

On Monday, Liverpool's players and staff will hold a minute's silence at 3.06pm to respect the 30th anniversary itself.

Marcos Alonso's late header sealed a 1-0 win at Slavia for Chelsea, but off-field issues again dominated proceedings.

The Blues will seek to ban the six fans involved in the video in which they abused Salah; the trio who attempted to enter the Sinobo Stadium were turned away by Chelsea's security team.

Stamford Bridge bosses will also continue to track down others involved, with their swift work leading to praise from football's equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out.

Chelsea branded the discriminatory video "abhorrent" and an "embarrassment" to the club in a statement on Thursday night.

France's World Cup-winning striker Olivier Giroud firmly backed his club's stance, insisting Salah would be able to shut out the abuse.

"It shouldn't happen. Nowadays one time is too many, one more time is too much, so it is unacceptable," said Giroud. "These guys don't belong to Chelsea and it's a shame that it happened again. We condemn this kind of thing.

"I think that Salah is strong enough to ignore them and we need to move forward and leave these people on the side."

Four Chelsea supporters were suspended by the club for abusing Raheem Sterling during Manchester City's 2-0 Premier League win at Stamford Bridge on December 8.

Then Chelsea condemned anti-Semitic chanting by Blues fans during the club's 2-2 Europa League draw at MOL Vidi on December 13.

A Chelsea statement at the time branded that chanting "abhorrent", saying it "shamed the club".

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