This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
AUTHOR: BRIAN READE
I've experienced many poignant moments on Anfield's Spion Kop.
I've stood on that old man-made hill built in honour of the hundreds of soldiers from Lancastrian regiments - both Scousers and Mancunians - who died together in a Boer War battle in 1900, and felt the emotions run away with themselves.
And yesterday afternoon they were up and running again.
When Sir Bobby Charlton walked on to the pitch with flowers and handed them to Ian Rush, their heavy faces fully grasping the poignancy of the moment, the full-throated roar of approval from everyone in the ground was deafening. Tribalism was temporarily cast aside.
It signalled the moment a truce was declared in the grotesque firing of death banter between these fans. Let's pray it continues.
There was the usual anti-Scouse and anti-Manc chanting between these two rivals. Such is the intense history between England's most successful clubs there always will be. But my ears didn't pick up any vile songs referencing Hillsborough.
Maybe that's because virtually everyone at Anfield seemed conscious of their responsibilty yesterday. They were aware of the fact that the world was looking on, many hoping to see English football wallow in the gutter, and grasped the moment.
Both sets of players emerged wearing tracksuits with the number 96 on the back. Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra put their acrimony aside and shook hands.
And team captains Steven Gerrard and Ryan Giggs released 96 red balloons in honour of the deceased.
It was classy, sincere and the tone was just right.
It is hard to see how players or management could have done it any better.
What of the fans?
There had been talk all week that a handful of United fans would defy their club's pleading and repeat the unsavoury anti-Liverpool chants heard during last weekend's game at Old Trafford.
It was hard to tell from the back of the Kop but it looked and sounded like the overwhelming majority of the 2,000-plus United fans in the Anfield Road End heeded the words in a letter from Alex Fergsuon, delivered to them at the turnstiles, and behaved themselves.
Before the game some of the visitors even showed their solidarity with their Scouse cousins by laying bunches of flowers at the Hilllsborough memorial bearing heart-felt messages.
One fan hung up an old Sharp shirt at the Shankly Gates with the words "United for the Hillsborough Families - Justice at last" written on the front.
As for the Liverpudlians, I'd rarely heard You'll Never Walk Alone sung with such intensity just before kick-off.
When the mosaics - one reading The Truth, another Justice and a third 96, were held up during the anthem, across three parts of the ground, and held up defiantly for the first minute of the match, a sense of pride swelled Anfield.
There was an air of triumph in the throats of all who sang. A triumph against incredible odds. For 23 years these fans had been labelled whingers, told to accept justice would never come their way and told to move on. Thankfully for the 96 families they didn't.
Liverpool lost yesterday in the cruellest of circumstances - down to 10 men for an hour, a debatable penalty and key defender carried off, and they now sit in the relegation zone. But there was no feeling of despair on the Kop.
Just pride that their young players had shown fight and promise. That their captain and talisman Steven Gerrard had scored then blessed himself in memory of his 10-year-old cousin Jon-Paul who was the youngest Hillsborough victim. But then when you've just scored the biggest victory in your history what's a narrow defeat in the bigger scheme of things. Even if it is to Man United.
Because when an independent panel blew apart the Hillsborough conspiracy last week, to many of us that was more precious than any trophy.
That was the final, irrefutable vindication of 23 long hard years of fighting against, what Michael Mansfield QC has called "the biggest cover-up in British legal history."
Yesterday was much more than a football match. It was about finally being able to publically honour the memory of 96 fellow fans, knowing the outside world now empathises with the obscene treatment handed out to them and their families.
And that felt as good as any Anfield moment I can remember.