Dalglish says reports have 'exonerated' Liverpool fans for Champions League final chaos

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Liverpool great Kenny Dalglish believes media reporting of crowd problems at the delayed Champions League final has "totally exonerated" Reds fans.

The showpiece match, which Real Madrid won 1-0 at the Stade de France on Saturday, had its start twice as UEFA pushed back the kick-off time.

European football's governing body initially moved the start back by 15 minutes after citing "security reasons" for the hold-up.

The two teams returned for a second warm-up at 21:05 local time before the match finally started at 21:36 – 36 minutes later than planned – after a second delay.

Liverpool fans complained of heavy-handed policing outside the stadium, suggesting tear gas or pepper spray had been used on supporters. A number of British-based journalists reported first-hand accounts of witnessing poor organisation and inappropriate behaviour outside the stadium by French authorities.

The Premier League club subsequently requested a formal investigation, while UEFA blamed the delays on fans trying to use "fake tickets" to gain entry.

French interior minister Gerald Darmanin also claimed "thousands" of Reds fans had tried to use counterfeit tickets or attempted to force entry to the stadium.

Liverpool fan group Spirit of Shankly accused UEFA of "shambolic mismanagement", and Dalglish followed suit by defending the Reds supporters.

"I think the fans are totally exonerated if you read all the press reports, and I think the French authorities should be a bit embarrassed with the way they behaved," Dalglish told Sky Sports.

"If it's normal, then fine, but our fans never behaved anything other than supportive of the football club."

Some supporters suggested the problems in the French capital were reminiscent of Hillsborough, scene of the tragedy when 97 people died after a crush developed in the Leppings Lane end at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

Dalglish refused to compare the events in France to the disaster at the match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday's home stadium, but he condemned the problems in Paris.

"If that's how bad it was, that tells you how sad it must be, but I think it's wrong to compare Hillsborough with anything else," he added.

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