Last Updated: 12/11/19 4:57pmDavid Duckenfield denies the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool supporters
Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield would have been capable of taking on the role if he had prepared "fully and diligently", his trial has heard.
The 75-year-old retired chief superintendent, who denies the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool supporters, was promoted to the role less than three weeks before taking charge of the FA Cup semi-final on April 15 1989, Preston Crown Court heard on Tuesday.
Douglas Hopkins, a former police officer who commanded matches at Arsenal's Highbury ground in the 1980s, said Duckenfield was experienced enough for the role.
He said: "Having read his CV and heard what was said about him, his experience should have made him capable of taking on the role of match commander, subject to him having prepared himself fully and diligently."
He said it may have been more appropriate for Duckenfield's predecessor Brian Mole, who commanded semi-finals at the Sheffield Wednesday ground in 1987 and 1988, to take the role but there was no reason for Duckenfield not to do it.
Asked by Richard Matthews QC, prosecuting, if Duckenfield fell short of a reasonably competent match commander, he said: "That's my opinion, sir."
Mr Hopkins, who worked for the Football Association as a crowd control adviser after retiring from the Met Police, said Duckenfield should have paid attention to an area of 23 turnstiles for more than 24,000 Liverpool fans at Leppings Lane.
He said: "I think that's an area a reasonably competent match commander would have concentrated on and would have known a lot about and would have made contingency plans to deal with whatever occurred there."
Mr Hopkins said by 2.30pm, half-an-hour before kick-off, the situation outside the turnstiles was becoming "critical".
He said: "I would anticipate a reasonably competent match commander would be concerned by 2.30pm about a rapidly growing crowd at Leppings Lane turnstiles."
He told the court extra officers could have been deployed to the area and consideration could have been given to delaying the kick-off or opening an exit gate for a controlled entry of fans, with police and stewards to check tickets.
Benjamin Myers QC, defending Duckenfield, suggested Mr Hopkins' opinions were "pure hindsight".
Mr Hopkins said: "You can browbeat me all you like, Mr Myers, I do not agree. It is not hindsight."
The court has heard that Duckenfield, of Bournemouth, ordered the opening of exit gates after crowds built up outside the Leppings Lane turnstiles, allowing those outside to head down the central tunnel to the pens where the fatal crush
Ninety-six men, women and children died following the crush on the terrace at the match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.
Under the law at the time, there can be no prosecution for the death of the 96th victim, Tony Bland, as he died more than a year and a day after his injuries were caused.
The court was adjourned until Wednesday.
The latest edition of Inside Anfield has been released, and it’s one of the most touching episodes so far.
Inside Anfield is something that has become a must-watch in recent times, documenting before, during and after behind-the-scenes footage on a matchday.
Although there is much to love about the latest edition, filmed during Sunday’s 3-1 win over Man City, the most memorable aspect comes towards the end.
Recovering Liverpool supporter Sean Cox was a special guest at Anfield, returning to the ground for the first time since suffering life-threatening injuries in 2018, having been attacked by Roma supporters.
Sean and his family were given a great reception by the home crowd, with his wife Martina speaking on the pitch at half-time.
Once the match was over and Liverpool could celebrate a potentially season-defining win, the Irishman was filmed meeting a few of his heroes.
Sean also has a warm conversation with Mohamed Salah, as Liverpool’s players show precisely why they are considered the Reds’ most likeable in generations.
Salah’s breathtaking team goal sums up everything that makes this team such a joy to watch, on a day when Liverpool more than outlined their title credentials.
It is those images of the players and Sean embracing that will live longest in the memory, though – it’s great that he was able to be present for such a massive victory.
LFC Official Membership have places up for grabs at the official Liverpool FC Christmas party.
The lucky Junior Members and season ticket holders selected by a prize draw will be invited, along with a parent or guardian, to what promises to be a magical Christmas party at Anfield on December 22.
The event will be held in partnership with LFC Foundation and Red Neighbours.
The afternoon will include:
• Christmas food and drink
• Music and entertainment
• Games, fun and competitions with amazing LFC prizes
• Appearance from our special guests – Santa and Mighty Red
• Plus lots more surprises on the day!
If you would like your child to be in with the chance of winning a place, simply enter their details in the Members’ Area before midnight on November 27.
If your child isn't already a Member, get them an LFC Official Junior Membership now, and enter their details in the Members' Area before the closing date.
All winners will be notified via email by November 30.
Virgil van Dijk has given a wide-ranging and interesting interview with Goal.com, in recognition of him winning their best player award.
The website’s annual Goal 50 award is given to the best player in the world as decided by their journalists around the world.
Van Dijk landed top spot in the men’s half of the 50 this year – American international legend Megan Rapinoe won the women’s award – ahead of Lionel Messi and Mohamed Salah, who were second and third respectively.
To commemorate winning, Van Dijk spoke to Goal about his career to date, from his debut in his home nation to his moves to Celtic, the Premier League and ultimately Liverpool.
Featuring messages from former managers and team-mates, a video interview saw Van Dijk explain how he learned from each phase of his career, culminating in his current status as the world’s finest defender, a Champions League winner and a Ballon d’Or candidate.
Regarding his move to the Reds and what has happened since, Van Dijk was clear about being delighted with life at Liverpool.
“I made the decision based on many things. My feeling is always the most important and Liverpool were the strongest in multiple factors. I’ve been here almost two years now and so far so good!
“In football you can never know what happens in the future but I’m very happy I made the decision to come here and hopefully it’ll always be good.
“I wasn’t expecting to be in the Champions League final straight away if I’m absolutely honest. To be there was something very special.
“What I felt before the final in Madrid is that I don’t want to do the guard of honour, getting your silver medal; that feeling [from Kyiv] is the worst you can have at the time. I thought about it before the game and thought ‘We have to get that trophy no matter what’.
“Not a lot of players in their career win the Champions League and we actually did it. We’ll be remembered in Liverpool history for that.”
Virgil has certainly made an enormous difference to the Liverpool defence and the team overall.
His influence has been felt almost from day one, and he has become not just a leader at Liverpool, but one of the best defenders on the planet.
Van Dijk acknowledges he’s fortunate in his timing, playing for Liverpool under Klopp as we head back to the top, and also captaining the Netherlands as they rebound in a big way. Here’s to plenty more seasons with Virgil as our centre-half!
Liverpool moved eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table with a 3-1 win over Manchester City on Sunday - and, as always, our cameras were on hand to capture the best behind-the-scenes footage before, during and after the game.
The Reds raced into a early two-goal lead at Anfield as Fabinho and Mohamed Salah netted by the time the Anfield clock ticked into its 13th minute.
Sadio Mane furthered their advantage with a stooping header just after half-time and although Bernardo Silva grabbed one back for the visitors, Jürgen Klopp's men held on to claim a crucial victory.
See the goals from a fresh angle and everything that unfolded away from the pitch in the latest edition of Inside Anfield below.
Gary McAllister scored the first of his nine goals for Liverpool on this day in 2000.
The midfielder chipped in with some priceless goals during his debut season with the Reds and added two more to his tally the following year.
Can you remember the teams he scored against for the club?
You've got five minutes...
Liverpool’s seven Ballon d’Or nominees took part in a special photoshoot at Melwood recently to commemorate being named on the 30-man shortlist for the prize.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum were last month announced as being in the running for the accolade by France Football.
The winner will be revealed in Paris on December 2.
Ahead of that ceremony, the Reds contingent gathered at Melwood to be snapped with their official nomination certificates, which you can see in our gallery below.
Photos by Andrew Powell
Liverpool Football Club would like to send greetings to all our Sikh supporters celebrating Guru Nanak Sahib's birthday.
New Balance and Liverpool FC have collaborated to create a special edition SMU Roav shoe.
Inspired by Liverpool's 2019-20 third shirt, which pays tribute to the city, the trainer's Phantom and Tidepool colours are reminiscent of the iconic Liver birds.
The SMU Roav insole also features the same pattern as the Reds' third jersey, which was inspired by Liverpool's street signs.
The shoe adds to the line of unique and innovative product designs that New Balance has delivered for LFC and its fans since 2011.
The limited-edition Roav will be available to purchase from New Balance and Liverpool FC stores from November 12, 2019.
Click here to buy your pair of limited-edition LFC SMU Roav trainers now.
Andy Robertson explains how he and Trent Alexander-Arnold just look to produce consistent all-round performances every time they play for Liverpool.
The full-back pairing once again combined on Sunday to help Mohamed Salah net the Reds' second in Sunday's 3-1 victory over reigning Premier League champions Manchester City.
The duo continue to deliver crucial contributions in the final third, although Robertson insists equal emphasis is also placed on their defensive work.
The Scot told Liverpoolfc.com: "Me and Trent had big numbers last season in terms of contributing to goals and stuff, but it was more than that.
"Defensively we were also very good and this season we've tried to do the same. We just try and produce high standards in every single game - it's not always possible.
"Trent is 21 and he's producing performances unbelievably and hopefully he keeps that up.
"Hopefully the team keeps it up because we're doing well so far and there's confidence in that changing room."
Robertson and his Liverpool teammates have entered the international break eight points clear at the top of the league standings.
The win over City is significant, according to the left-back, but far from decisive in where they the title ends up going in May.
"Massive for us," he continued. "A big game against our closest rivals from last year.
"Both of us were in a league of their own last year and it looks as if there's going to be a couple of others sniffing about this year. But I still believe if you finish above Man City then I think you'll get the title.
"It's a massive win for us and it's just another one that we've got to tick off. There's still a long, long way to go, but it's always nice to beat your rivals."
On the game itself, Robertson added: "I think in these games the first goal is always crucial and luckily Fabinho has hit an absolute rocket.
"After that then we've gone up the park again and scored and got 2-0. We stayed calm, we stayed composed and we knew the next goal was so crucial because if Man City scored then we know how good they can be. Luckily Sadio got on the end of a delightful cross by Hendo.
"Then we had to dig deep, we did. We were tired and had to dig deep as they threw everything at us. It's easier when they're chasing the game and they've got nothing to lose. We had to dig deep and think we defended really well."
Last Updated: 12/11/19 7:20am0:42 Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was left confused when a reporter asked him if he had spoken to Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was left confused when a reporter asked him if he had spoken to Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has used a UEFA coaches' conference to call for change to the VAR system.
A host of leading European managers attended the summit at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, including Klopp and Manchester City rival Pep Guardiola.
Guardiola was left fuming after Liverpool's VAR-assisted 3-1 defeat of his side on Sunday, in which City had two penalty appeals rejected.
While Klopp was the beneficiary, the German insisted at Monday's summit the use of VAR had to be improved, a point he said he and Guardiola had agreed on after a discussion following Sunday's game.0:56 It appeared that the ball struck the arm of Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold in the penalty area before the Reds broke and scored the opening goal from Fabinho, but VAR ruled it not to be handball. It appeared that the ball struck the arm of Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold in the penalty area before the Reds broke and scored the opening goal from Fabinho, but VAR ruled it not to be handball.
"VAR can be improved, it can. It will never be 100 per cent accurate, everybody knows that. But there are a couple of things that are not right," Klopp told the conference.
"With VAR, handball, offside, it is clear we have to keep on improving.
"There were good ideas from UEFA (about) how we can sort things from the referees, so everybody is in on it.
"There is still space for mistakes. These things are done by human beings and none of us is perfect. Nobody is asking for perfection, you just want to have the right decisions."
Klopp also voiced his concerns over the increasingly-crowded fixture programme, saying: "The discussions on that are really important and we have to start them."
Also attending the summit were managers including Arsenal's Unai Emery, former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, Ajax's Erik ten Hag, and Paris-Saint Germain's Thomas Tuchel.No international break for Super 6
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