The brother of an Irish Liverpool fan who was seriously injured before a Champions League semi-final has told a court he was kicked as he tended to him on the ground.

Roma supporter Filippo Lombardi, 21, is accused of inflicting grievous bodily harm on father-of-three Sean Cox in a joint attack outside Anfield on 24 April.

Mr Cox's brother, Martin, 46, told Preston Crown Court that his brother had been "delighted" when they were offered tickets for the match in the week before the game.

The pair travelled over from Ireland on the morning of 24 April and had been walking along Walton Breck Road towards the ground shortly after 7pm.

He said: "I recall we heard some noises, not good noises - we just sensed there was something not right.

"At that time people come across us in dark clothes, chanting."

He said the group were chanting in an aggressive way.

He said: "I turned to Sean as if to say 'Let's get out of here' or whatever, but as I turned Sean was lying on the ground."

He told the court he had not seen what had caused his 53-year-old brother to fall down.

He said: "I just froze for a second, just in complete shock. My next instinct was to go straight down to Sean to see if he was OK.

"I bent down to Sean and, as I was bent over, I could feel a kick on the back and I sort of lost balance, stumbled a bit, but I didn't look up, I just gathered myself around Sean."

He told the court that Mr Cox, from Dunboyne, Co Meath, had been taken to Aintree Hospital and then spent a month in specialist unit the Walton Centre in Liverpool.

He was then transferred to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin and had recently been moved to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire.

He told the jury: "He can't talk, he just whispers."

He said his brother was not able to sit up unaided.

"He can slightly push himself but he has to be helped to be pushed up fully," he said.

The court also heard from Norwegian Liverpool supporter Tommy Josefsen, who had been standing in Walton Breck Road when the attack happened.

He said he saw an "intimidating" group of 50 or 60 people wearing black clothing coming into the road from Venmore Street.

He said they had their faces covered and were shouting and singing.

He added: "They went and approached some people that were more in the middle of the street and then it went really fast because suddenly a guy from behind with his belt knocked a person down."

The court has heard that Mr Cox fell to the ground after being punched by a man, who has been referred to in court as N40.

The proseuction allege that Mr Lombardi "lashed out" with a belt at Mr Cox as he fell, but it is not clear whether the belt made contact with him.

Mr Josefsen said: "I thought that the belt hit the back of his head and I could actually hear things breaking."

Liverpool fan Chris Bailey told the court he had been walking down Venmore Street behind the group of fans, who were initially quiet but started to chant as they reached Walton Breck Road.

He said: "I think everyone around quickly realised there were a few weapons on show and this group were looking for trouble."

He said he saw a belt which was used to hit Mr Cox with "unbelievable force".

He added: "It was sickening to see."

Mr Lombardi denies being part of a joint attack on Mr Cox but has admitted another charge of violent disorder.

The trial is expected to last until next week.