TRIBUTES have poured in for a Liverpool FC supporter who was stabbed to death while celebrating the Reds' Champions League triumph at the weekend.
Bala Evans O'Rourke, 33, was knifed in the chest outside a bar on Back Colquitt Street in Liverpool city centre at around 3am on Sunday.
The father-of-two was rushed to Royal Liverpool University Hospital but tragically died a short time later.
Two men were arrested following the attack and remained in custody for questioning as of Monday morning.
A 19-year-old man, from the Toxteth area of the city, was arrested after police chased him as he fled the scene.
A 24-year-old man, also from Toxteth, suffered stab wounds to the arm and was taken to hospital before being taken into custody.
Detective Inspector Allison Woods of Merseyside Police said the stabbing appeared to have been "targeted".
She said: "The investigation is in its early stages and the motive for the attack is unknown.
"However, we understand the men were known to each other and the attack was targeted.
"At this time it is believed that the 33-year-old victim, who lived in the city centre, was involved in an altercation with two men.
“Two men, aged 19 and 24 years, have been arrested on suspicion of murder and will be interviewed by detectives."
DI Woods added: "The family of the deceased have been informed and a family liaison officer will be supporting them at this tragic time.
"The city centre was really busy in the early hours of the morning and I would appeal to anyone who may have witnessed the incident, or who has any information which could help us with our inquiries to contact us."
'Amazing young man'
The victim's mother Pauline O'Rourke posted a photo of her son on Facebook following news of his death, with hundreds of people paying tribute to him in the comments.
One friend wrote: "One of the nicest human beings you could ever meet. It's always the great ones".
Another commented: "Devastating news to hear that an old school friend has had his life taken far too soon. RIP Bala Evans O'Rourke you were one of the cool ones".
A third added: "How can this happen! When the whole of Liverpool is celebrating, a family are devastated by a horrendous monstrous act of pure brutality.
"This has to stop, we should be able to relax when our sons and daughters are out. They should be safe. My heart goes out to Pauline O'Rourke and the family."
Mr Evans O'Rourke's devastated cousin, Kelly O'Rourke, said: "I just can't get over this. Our poor family have lost an amazing young man.
"A father to two beautiful kids and amazing partner to his girl and a loving son to his amazing mum, who will be so devastated."
The scene of the stabbing was cordoned off for the remainder of the weekend as investigators conducted a forensic examination and analysed CCTV footage from the local area.
It is understood that a knife believed to have been used in the attack was recovered from the scene.
Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives on 0151 777 4065, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.