The city of Liverpool is set to pay tribute to the 96 football fans who died at the Hillsborough disaster on its 25<sup>th anniversary.

Current and former players, managers and coaching staff will attend an annual memorial service at Liverpool FC's Anfield ground, with Everton FC also screening the service at Goodison Park to pay their respects.

A crowd of 24,000 people are expected to attend the memorial which begins at 14:40 at Anfield. Liverpool manger Brendan Rogers will deliver a reading during the service, as will Everton boss Roberto Martinez.

On the pitch, thousands of football scarves donated from fans and clubs across the country will be laid out in the shape on the number 96.

A minute's silence across the city will also be observed at 15:06 – the exact time the ill-fated FA Cup semi-final game against Nottingham Forrest was called off as the tragedy became apparent – with Church bells tolling 96 times to commemorate those who died.

Elsewhere, public transport will be halted briefly at 15:06 and the Mersey ferry will blow its funnels. Lime Street Station will also beam a photo of each of the 96 victims on a huge screen at the city centre.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, whose 10-year-old cousin Jon-Paul Gilhooley was the youngest victim of the disaster, was seen in tears following the club's 3-2 victory against Premiership contenders Manchester City just a few days before the anniversary.

hillsborough anniversary
Floral tributes laid in memory of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster Getty

He said: "The reason I was so emotional was because of when this game fell.

"It wasn't just because it was a big match in our season, it was because this week is always about more than football for everyone associated with Liverpool. It's emotional for so many people.

"I'm speaking on behalf of everyone when I say the win was dedicated to the victims and families of Hillsborough.

"All the squad will be present at the service to pay our respects as we should."

The mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, added: "This year marks a pivotal moment in the history of the Hillsborough tragedy and the families' long fight for justice. Not only is it the 25th anniversary of the tragedy but we also have the start of fresh inquests into how the 96 lost their lives.

"We will never forget those who died at Hillsborough, and this is a day for us to unite as a city and remember each one, and also their families and friends left behind.

"I urge everyone in Liverpool, and across the region, to observe the minute's silence, stand shoulder to shoulder and remember the 96 fans that went to a football match and never returned home. Our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones today."

The tributes arrive as fresh inquests into the deaths of the 96 victim's takes place in Warrington. The original verdict of accidental deaths was quashed following the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report in 2012.