Violent incidents tarnished the Merseyside Derby at the weekend when two Everton fans were brutally attacked before and after the match at Anfield.
One victim was taken to hospital with a broken jaw after he was punched to the floor and repeatedly kicked, and another fan narrowly escaped with his life after being glassed in the throat.
The first incident happened outside the King Harry pub, on Blessington Road. Police cordoned off the area for forensic examinations, meaning some fans faced difficulties leaving the stadium, despite a tannoy announcement warning the crowd of a road closure.
For a short time yesterday there were fears that the attack had been far worse. Internet message-boards in Merseyside, and across the country, were rife with false rumours that an Everton fan had been killed on his way to the ground.
Over 12,000 people ‘liked’ the ‘R.I.P. the Everton fan murdered
on Derby Day’ page on social networking site Facebook, even
though there had been no official statement confirming or
denying a fatal attack.
Chief Superintendent Dave Lewis, of Merseyside Police, said:
"I would like to thank today's fans for their behaviour on the
whole and appeal to anyone who has any information about the
assault on Anfield Road to come forward and contact detectives.
"Officers arrested five people for low-level offences and ejected
two people from the stadium.
"Whilst we are dealing with an assault there were no further
incidents during today's derby match. Both sets of fans, on the
whole, behaved well before, during and after the game.”
However, a second attack later occured outside the 12th Man pub on Walton Breck Road in Anfield, just hours after the final whistle. A 30-year-old man was set upon by a group of thugs, and required an emergency operation to save his life.
By Tom Broughton & John Witherspoon
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Flickr: the King Harry pub was the scene of one assault; the fan in question was on his way to Anfield
© Trinity Mirror