Jan Molby

Liverpool title success would be timely tribute to Hillsborough 96

Jan Molby

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I recently spoke to Margaret Aspinall, the chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

Margaret said to me 'wouldn't it be wonderful if Liverpool could win the FA Cup for the memory of the 96 victims of Hillsborough,' 25 years on from the awful scenes surrounding the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

And I said wouldn't it be wonderful if we could win the Premier League for the first time as a tribute.

Here we are moving very close to the unthinkable.

The Hillsborough Inquest has started, and with the Manchester City game coming up on Sunday plus the memorial service two days later, it is going to be very emotional.

It would be perfect if the two dreams come together: everybody is cleared from the Hillsborough Inquest and Steven Gerrard lifts the Premier League title at the end of the season.

All the players who have been at the club over the past 25 years were not around during the days of the Hillsborough Disaster. It means very little to them.

But it has been amazing the way they have all bought into it. And this current squad are no different. They are well aware of what this means to the club and the supporters.

Brendan Rodgers will have made the squad well aware that this April will be one of the most emotional Aprils in the history of Liverpool Football Club.

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I am playing in a benefit match at Anfield on April 21 with a lot of former players. It is one of those awful situations where you must try to do you best, that's all you can do, keep spreading the word to help the families of the victims.

People in high places were saying things, and what we were being told wasn't true. It wasn't told the way it should have been. That has caused so many people so much unnecessary pain.

It will be a relief when everybody is cleared, and we can try to move on.

I always tell people, Hillsborough isn't something I think about every day. But from time to time, you do think about it.

Sometimes it can be when you hear the Liverpool supporters singing You'll Never Walk Alone.

Or other times, when you hear a story you have little flashbacks from people that were at the game.

I don't think you forget where you were that day. I was injured that day, but I was at Hillsborough. I was unaware until hours later what had happened.

It was a terrible tragedy. It is one that the city is still struggling to recover from.

The benefit match against Celtic in the first match after the tragedy was very emotional because of the close links between the clubs. And then the first league match was against Everton at Goodison Park.

It is still very raw, but thankfully Brendan and the side are doing all they can do to make sure this could be a fitting tribute at such a sad time.

Liverpool have won two of their past three games without being at their best against Sunderland and West Ham.

They're proving the doubters wrong with every game that passes, with their ability to deal with different types of tests thrown up against them.

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Jan (pictured middle row, immediately to the right of manager Kenny Dalglish) was part of the last Liverpool squad to win the League title in 1990.

It is nicely set up now. It won't be a title decider against Manchester City, but it will be as close to one as you can get.

The West Ham manager Sam Allardyce did what he had to do against Liverpool. He made it as difficult for them as he could.

Manuel Pellegrini won't do that on Sunday. His game plan will be based on his big players, and his belief that they can influence this game as much as they do at home.

I think you have to be so careful coming to Liverpool wanting to play your own game.

City are obviously going to try to play out from the back, but plenty of teams have come unstuck with that philosophy because Liverpool just hunt you down.

The front five are exceptional because of the amount of work they get through without the ball. They don't give you a second.

If City think there is going to be a period where they can settle into the game, they will be badly mistaken because that won't be the case.

Liverpool were unfortunate to lose at the Etihad Stadium earlier this season. It was a defeat, but is probably the hardest game City have faced in the Premier League outside of the loss to Chelsea when City weren't at their best.

The first half was very even at Upton Park, but Rodgers made the change at half-time by bringing Lucas on for Coutinho, and Liverpool were dominant.

That ability by Brendan to wrestle the game away from West Ham was also crucial. A good coach needs to read the game, and make the right changes.

Liverpool have only used about 14 or 15 players since early December, and have been fortunate to avoid any injuries.

Steve Gerrard is a clever player, and it would have to have been a lost cause for Gerrard to collect a booking that would have kept him out of that match.

Credit to Rodgers. He has explained the role to Gerrard, and he completely bought into it.

I think City will have to produce their best performance of the season to get anything from Anfield. I don't think Liverpool need to do much different from what they've been doing in every big match at Anfield this season.

If they perform how they did against Arsenal and Everton, that will be enough.

If they can play with no fear, that will be enough. City are under pressure being four points behind.

You don't want to be that far behind with Liverpool only having five games to play. I was at City on Saturday, and it was lacklustre and a bit lethargic.

Every top team has been blown away by the tempo at Anfield. They have to be ready from the off, because Liverpool will be.

There is no team like Liverpool to settle into a game. They are in their stride after only 30 seconds.

The stadium will be full 25 minutes before kick-off. In today's terms, that is incredible.

In those 25 minutes, they will build respect to the 96 and pay respect to what is an incredible Liverpool team.

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