LONDON (AP) — After securing an emotional, long-awaited triumph off the pitch this week, Liverpool needs a victory on it against Sunderland on Saturday to revive the team's fortunes following its worst start to a season in 50 years.
The release of secret papers into the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster in which 96 Liverpool fans were killed exonerated the club from any blame for the crush, instead pointing the finger at police malpractice and corruption.
Families of the victims and the club itself waited 23 years for the truth to come out, and some players and manager Brendan Rodgers attended a vigil on Wednesday to pay their respects.
Rodgers, in his first season at the fallen English giants, now needs to turn his focus to the pitch, with his side third from bottom in the English Premier League after picking up just one point from its opening three games.
Not since 1962 has Liverpool began a campaign so poorly, with a shortage of options in attack alongside Uruguay striker Luis Suarez widely regarded as its major problem.
"We're faithful and confident that things are going to come good for us," said Wales midfielder Joe Allen, who followed Rodgers in joining Liverpool from Swansea this summer.
"We've got too much ability and talent in the team for it not to."
Sunderland, though, has been a tough proposition at home since Martin O'Neill took over as manager in December, while Liverpool's next game is at home to fierce rival Manchester United. Turning things around won't be easy for Rodgers.
O'Neill said reports of Liverpool's demise have been exaggerated.
"It's the nature of the game these days," he said. "You can take any set of results — even three hours out of a 10-game period — and say something in particular happened during that time.
"You have to take the bigger picture into consideration. Liverpool are just settling down. After 11 or 12 games you'll start to see a picture developing in the league itself, never mind Liverpool."
The point Liverpool has earned this season came against Manchester City, which is the only time the defending champions have failed to win in the league.
City is one of three teams to lie two points behind early leader Chelsea, and could be boosted by the return of leading striker Sergio Aguero for Saturday's trip to Stoke.
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