That is the plan: Just try. If we can do it, wonderful. If not, then fail in the most beautiful way.Jurgen Klopp – Liverpool FC Manager
My love for football began in 1998 when my brother and I got FIFA 99 for the PS1. At the age of 6, I fell in love with AS Roma, mainly because of Francesco Totti. My love for football started right there. There was something about the 22 year old Italian in the game that just attracted me to him. My brother on the other hand fell in love with Arsenal which was an amazing squad as well. Til this day I admire Totti.
In the year 2000 we travelled to the United Kingdom for the first time. We stayed at my aunt’s house. It was the first time where I had seen an actual house. My cousin, who I still get a long with very well, was a huge Liverpool fan and would pick Liverpool against us and absolutely smash us. Seeing as how I was 8 at the time it comes as no surprise. I was intrigued. Suddenly the AS Roma team that I would dominate with (against my younger brother) was no longer effective.
My cousin proposed that I try out Liverpool. From then on the rest was history. Liverpool FC had Steven Gerrard who stayed with the club for his whole life. I fell in love with the whole squad but there was something different about Steven Gerrard. My cousin explained that the club was all about one motto – You’ll Never Walk Alone.
There was something about Totti and Gerrard sticking with their teams, proving their loyalty that I loved. Both of them started their careers and ended it at the same club. There was a sense of honour in that. It was a clear and solid declaration – This is MY team.
8 year old me didn’t understand it, not completely anyways but none of it mattered. I was in love with Liverpool. Over the years I understood what it meant – You’ll Never Walk Alone. No matter what race, religion, gender, culture you were from; It didn’t matter at all. The only thing that mattered was that we all love Liverpool FC and because of that connection we would never be alone. No matter what I have to go through in life, I knew that this community had my back in a metaphorical sense. Sure, I’ve never reached out to other Liverpool fans that weren’t my friends BUT I always knew I had the support of the community. As a kid who was bullied you look for any sort of acceptance and love and this club was exactly that.
I was in love and when I say Love I mean Love, Love not fake love. I remember watching the 2005 UEFA Champions League final where we went down 3-0 in the first half, drew the game in the second half and then won the game on penalties. I was 12 years old and was watching the match with my brother. Frustrated at the results at the end of the first half, I went for a shower to get ready for bed. When Gerrard scored my brother screamed at me and I ran out the shower and saw the goal. I still didn’t believe we were going to be able to come back the way we did. I went back into the shower and Vladimír Šmicer scored the 2nd goal and out of the shower I ran again. Then I sat there in my towel and lo and behold Xabi Alonso misses the penalty but scores on the rebound. The game went to penalties and we won.
At that moment I understood what it meant to support Liverpool FC. I understood what the club stood for. I understood what it truly meant- You’ll Never Walk Alone. When the team steps onto the pitch it isn’t just the 11 players on the pitch. It isn’t just the manager. It isn’t just the substitutes, the management or even the city. It is so much more than that. It is every Liverpool fan that bleeds red united. Our hopes and will channelled together for one purpose; to win.
There’s a reason why teams absolutely dread playing at Anfield. The crowd, the atmosphere is unlike any you’ll find anywhere in the world. 54,000 People all packed in one stadium singing…motivating the boys to keep fighting. You’ll Never Walk Alone is the best club song in the world. If it wasn’t for the community, Anfield would not be the fortress that it is.
Over the years we came so close, so so close to winning that elusive Premier League title. That one thing that escaped our grasps several times. The one thing that we hadn’t won since the start of the Premier League era. The one thing that our rivals Manchester United won, year after year after year with Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm. The infamous Gerrard slip that every Liverpool fan is reminded of by all the other teams. They hate what we have and they cannot stand watching us succeed the right way- Together.
We have finally won the Premier League title. All those years of believing, loving, crying, joy and heart break we have finally done the one thing we hadn’t. This squad is amazing but what stands out to me more than the squad is Jurgen Klopp’s mentality. He came in with the mentality that we will try our best and it will take some time but it will happen and when it will happen it will have been achieved in the right way. When it finally happens it will be the most beautiful thing the world has ever seen.
He turned us into mentality monsters. Without his philosophy we would not have come so far as a team. The players would not have the mentality they had when they had to pull off the impossible remontada against Barcelona in the UCL semi finals. The fans would not have the mental fortitude to believe, to truly have faith, in the team. Both players and fans would not give up until the final whistle was blown regardless of the score. We won the Champions League, Super cup, Club World Cup and became the fastest team to win the Premier League in the history of the competition.
The sport of Football has and will continue to be a huge part of my life. This club has been and will continue to be a huge part of my life. This club is part of my identity. I LOVE Liverpool. WE are the greatest team in the world.
P.S – If there is one thing that I have learned in all my years as a Liverpool fan, it is that you never un-clench until the final whistle has blown. Never ever fucking un-clench. Keep those cheeks clenched because it isn’t over til the fat lady sings.
Notable Mentions – The Galacticos Real Madrid squad in 2000-2007 was absolutely insane and fun to watch. Raul taught me what it meant to put your body on the line for your team. The Brazilian squad that won the 2002 World Cup was insanely talented. The Italian squad that won the 2006 World Cup was amazing to watch as well. Ibrahimovic and Adriano in Inter Milan used to be an absolute nightmare to deal with when I’d play against my friend.