Two Italians in court over attack as Liverpool fan fights for life

Two Italian men are due in court as a Liverpool fan fights for his life in hospital after being attacked at a Champions League match.

Father-of-three Sean Cox, 53, suffered serious head injuries when he was assaulted outside Anfield Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Liverpool fan had travelled from his home in Dunboyne, Co Meath, Ireland, with his brother to watch his team's semi-final against Roma.

He remains in a critical condition in hospital with a serious head wound.

On Thursday Merseyside Police said two Italians had been charged in connection with the attack.

A statement said: "We can confirm that detectives have charged two Italian men following an incident in Anfield on Tuesday 24 April in which a 53-year-old man was seriously injured.

"Twenty-year-old Filippo Lombardi was charged with violent disorder and wounding/inflicting grievous bodily harm.

"Twenty-nine-year-old Daniele Sciusco was charged with violent disorder.

"Both men have been kept in custody to appear at South Sefton Magistrates' Court this morning, Thursday 26 April.

"The victim remains in hospital in a critical condition at Walton Neurological Centre."

Family members of Mr Cox have flown over from Ireland to maintain a bedside vigil at the hospital in Liverpool.

Sporadic trouble broke out in the city centre before the game, and as more than 50,000 fans descended on Anfield, including around 5,000 fans from Italy.

Fighting erupted near The Albert pub close to the ground shortly before kick-off, where it is believed Mr Cox was hit with a belt and fell to the ground.

Police made nine arrests before and after the game, for offences including affray, assault, possession of offensive weapons, possession of a controlled drug, criminal damage and being drunk and disorderly.

A friend of Mr Cox, Damien O'Reilly, a councillor in Co Meath, described him as a role model and cornerstone of the community and heavily involved in local Gaelic football.

He said: "Everyone is just in shock and we are praying for a speedy recovery."

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the family's medical bills and other costs.

A JustGiving page has also been set up to raise money for Mr Cox's family.

Thomas Byrne, an Irish MP, said: "I sincerely hope and pray that Sean Cox, a most decent man of the Dunboyne community, makes a full recovery."

Liverpool and Roma football clubs both condemned the violence and European governing body Uefa is awaiting further information before deciding its next step.