Champions League final: Liverpool fans describe 'terrifying crush and choking pepper spray'

Video of family warning police of crush at turnstiles

Liverpool fans have been describing a 'terrifying crush', as they tried to get into the Stade de France for the Champions League final.

Merseyside Police have described it as the 'worst match' they have experienced but they have praised the "exemplary behaviour' of Liverpool supporters in shocking circumstances.

Shambolic scenes outside the ground saw supporters with tickets made to wait in huge queues until after the match began.

Fans affected by the situation said police officers used pepper-spray "unprovoked" while they were waiting to get in.

Uefa said the delay was caused by the late arrival of Liverpool fans, but the club said that was "totally inaccurate".

A Merseyside Police spokesperson said on Twitter: "MERPOL was deployed to this evening's match.

"Can only describe it as the worst European match I've ever worked or experienced.

"I thought the behaviour of the fans at the turnstiles was exemplary in shocking circumstances.

"You were not late 100%."

Prefecture de Police, the Parisian police force, said in a statement queues formed after fans arrived without tickets.

It continued: "Exerting strong pressure to enter the enclosure, these supporters delayed access to spectators with tickets.

"Taking advantage of this action, a number of people managed to cross the gates protecting the stadium enclosure.

Footage shows appeared to show people climbing over barriers as crowds built up, and the kick-off was delayed by more than 30 minutes.

ITV Granada Sports correspondent Chris Hall as fans forced to climb out of stadium

Police carrying shields and riot gear had moved into the area shortly after 8pm.

Supporters showed what appeared to be tickets to officers after a gate was closed, denying them entry.

Liverpool supporters said hundreds of locals were taunting riot police, causing gates to be shut.

One fan said: "This will be pinned on us, but it's nothing to do with us.

"There's hundreds here causing trouble, they're not even for the game - it's chaos."

Liverpool fans with tickets were later let into the stadium hours after queuing up and well after the match began.

Officers used tear gas, batons and shields to force young locals away from the area outside.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he still had not spoken to his family about the scenes getting into the stadium, but he was aware of there were 'not nice' issues for fans.

Liverpool later released a statement calling for a thorough investigation into events outside the ground.

A club spokesperson said: "We are hugely disappointed at the stadium entry issues and breakdown of the security perimeter that Liverpool fans faced this evening at the Stade de France.

"This is the greatest match in European football and supporters should not have to experience the scenes we have witnessed tonight.

"We have officially requested a formal investigation into the causes of these unacceptable issues."

Merseyside Police say they will brief UEFA on what they saw.

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Green said: “We are aware of a number of reports relating to incidents both before and after last night’s Champions League Final at the Stade de France in Paris.

 “As with all European matches officers from Merseyside were deployed in France to work in an observatory and advisory capacity with the local officers.

"They have reported the vast majority of fans behaved in an exemplary manner, arriving at turnstiles early and queuing as directed and their observations will be passed on to the relevant authorities as part of the debrief for the game."

“We know that people would have witnessed a lot of distressing scenes last night and we wish everyone returning home from Paris a safe journey.

Our focus today will be supporting Liverpool city council with the policing of the homecoming parade.”

The final brought back "so many terrible memories" of the Hillsborough disaster in April 1989, Labour MP Ian Byrne told Sky News.

The MP for Liverpool West Derby, said: "It was horrific, there's no other words to describe it, it was absolutely horrific.

"As someone who was at Hillsborough in 1989, it brought so many terrible memories flooding back.

"I'm sure that many, many people who were there experienced that same flashback.

"It was just awful policing and stewarding, extremely hostile atmosphere.

"We've got to remember that this is the premier football occasion in Europe and to treat football fans like animals, as they did, is unforgiveable."

Mr Byrne said the chaos was caused by "awful policing, awful stewarding" and "mismanagement around the grounds".