Apr 7, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT
The inspiration for Brendan Rodgers to guide Liverpool to its first ever Premier League title?
The 96 fans who lost their lives at Hillsborough.
“I know there are 96 people in the sky who will always be supporting this team,” Rodgers said following his side’s 2-1 victory over West Ham on Sunday.
With the victory the Reds reclaimed top spot in the Premier League, two points ahead of Chelsea and four points above Manchester City, who have two games in hand.
This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy, where a human crush resulted in the death of 96 fans while 766 others suffered injury. The incident occurred during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, played at the neutral venue of Hillsborough, the home ground of Sheffield Wednesday.
“We want to do this for the great support and football family of Liverpool and if we are to achieve anything this year the 96 in the sky will always be in our thoughts, and their families,” Rodgers continued.
Despite insisting his side remain underdogs given City’s two games in hand, Rodgers has pledged to continue Liverpool’s “fearless mentality” to finish the season and end the club’s 24 year drought without a league title.
“There’s a number of great teams in this league, big clubs with titles under their belts in the last 10 years,” Rodgers said. “We’re fighting them. Manchester City are strong and have every component to do well. They’ve spent money and what they’ve done is fantastic. They’re a wonderful club and they’ve invested well in top players. They’ll be looking to come to Anfield and get a result.”
Rodgers insists his side, who face Manchester City, Norwich City, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Newcastle to finish the season, remain relaxed down the stretch.
“We’re embracing whatever pressure is supposed to be and enjoying our football. There’s no nerves.”
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