Police have launched a public appeal to identify nine men they wish to speak to in connection with the violence that broke out at the end the Europa League last-16 second-leg tie between Manchester United and Liverpool.
Liverpool secured a 1-1 draw against their rivals at Old Trafford on March 17 to progress to the quarter-finals 3-1 on aggregate, but the match was marred by violence that began in the East Stand – part of which was occupied by travelling supporters – prior to the final whistle.
A statement from Greater Manchester Police reported a young child was hit by a thrown plastic seat and sustained minor injuries as a result of the clashes between the two sets of fans.
— G M Police (@gmpolice) April 7, 2016
Additionally, two men have been charged in connection with a banner that was placed over a bridge on the M602 motorway before the match.
The banner featured the world “murderers” and appeared to mock the events of the Hillsborough stadium disaster as it carried the date of the abandoned FA Cup semi-final in 1989 between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest where 96 Liverpool fans died.
Detective Sergeant Stephen Warriner said: “Football is a family event and the appalling violence that occurred that evening will not be tolerated by the clubs, the police or by the vast majority of supporters.
“A young child was hurt as a result of these mindless thugs, who paid absolutely no regard to the safety of those around them.
“A number of arrests have already been carried out, but now we need the public’s help to ensure those people capable of carrying out such violence are no longer welcome at our football grounds.”
During the first leg of the tie at Anfield, a section of the United support were heard to chant about the Hillsborough disaster but UEFA took no disciplinary action.
A statement from Manchester United at the time read: “It has always been the position of Manchester United that chants of this nature, which refer to historical tragedies, have no place in the game and do not reflect the values the club holds.
“We are in discussion with our fans’ groups to seek their support in preventing this type of behaviour in the future.”