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Brian Clough rumours inspired Liverpool to win 1989 FA Cup semi-final

Aldo revealed he considered retiring from football after the Hillsborough disaster.

John Aldridge of Liverpool celebrates his second goal during the FA Cup Semi-Final against Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford in Manchester, England.. Liverpool won the match 3-1. \ Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport

Kevin Palmer

Liverpool goal scoring great John Aldridge has revealed that his team was given additional inspiration to win the re-arranged 1989 FA Cup semi-final amid claims Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough was hoping his side would get a bye through to the final.

After the ill-fated semi-final at Hillsborough was abandoned after a terrace crush that resulted in the tragic death of 97 Liverpool fans, Aldridge and his Liverpool team mates had to find a way to get their minds back on football for the re-scheduled game at Old Trafford.

Liverpool won the game 3-1 with the help of two Aldridge goals and he has told that the rumours circulating around Clough and Forest added fuel to his fire.

Forest and Liverpool will renew their rivalry in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday and Aldridge suggests the rumours circulating around Forest and Clough in 1989 led to one of Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish's most inspirational team talks.

"Liverpool's game against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup quarter-finals revives some harrowing memories for me," says Aldo.

"It was in the semi-finals of the same competition back in 1989 that I started up front for Liverpool against Forest at Hillsborough, on a day that ended in horrific tragedy.

"The 97 Liverpool fans that perished on that Leppings Lane terrace will never be forgotten and I will never forget Kenny Dalglish’s pre-match speech in the re-arranged Forest game.

"The match at Old Trafford was the most important of my life, as we simply had to win for the families of those who had lost their loved ones at Hillsborough.

"Kenny wasn't known for his inspirational pre-match talks, but he said all the right things ahead of that Forest game.

"One point he made was to highlight the rumoured attempts of Forest and their manager Brian Clough to get a bye into the FA Cup final rather than rearranging the semi-final.

"I don’t know how much Forest or Clough pushed for that outcome, but mentioning it was a good way to get us fired up to batter them and that’s what we did."

Aldo revealed he considered retiring from football after the Hillsborough disaster, as he felt a personal responsibility for those who has lost their lives.

"The Hillsborough disaster devastated me," he added. "These people had gone to watch me and my team-mates play a football match and they never returned home. My people, Liverpool people. How can you come to terms with that?

"I went to so many funerals of the Hillsborough victims. One for two sisters, others for sons and fathers. Brothers and sisters who died together on the Leppings Lane terrace.

"It was horrendous, impossible to comprehend and we just had to find a way to get through it.

"If this kind of incident happened now, I’m sure all the Liverpool players and the staff would have been given counselling and looking back now, that’s what I needed. However, back in 1989, it wasn’t the done thing, so we just had to deal with it in the best way we could.

"My wife Joan and all my family had to put up with a hell of a lot from me during that period and thankfully, everyone stood by me as I needed all the support I could get at the time.

"I considered giving up the game, of course I did. You can’t imagine going back on a football field when you have been part of something like that and when I decided I would pull on the Liverpool shirt again, the re-arranged semi-final against Forest became the biggest match of my life.

"We had to win, we had to do it for the people who perished at Hillsborough and this is why I say the goals I scored to help get Liverpool to the FA Cup final are the most important of my career."

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