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Klopp: 'You'll Never Walk Alone' is most beautiful song

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Stay in a Liverpool hotel on the night of a big game and you might wander around the city the next morning not knowing which country you are in.

Swedes, Danes, Norwegians, Irish fans and visitors from the Far and Middle East fill the breakfast cafés. The international flavour of Liverpool's support, touched on by Jordan Henderson, is often overlooked when the club are cast as outliers, an independent republic who look outwards to the Irish Sea rather than inwards to the rest of English football.

How Liverpool see themselves - and the way the rest of the English game views them - is an issue running through the celebrations and the appraisals of their first league win for 30 years. Even as the club, Merseyside Police and the city council were calling Friday night's overzealous rejoicing at Pier Head "wholly unacceptable", Liverpool justifiably plugged their image as a different kind of footballing institution: one with communal origins rooted in the socio-economic history and culture of Merseyside.

The language used to describe the bond between club and fans could hardly be more intense. Tom Werner, the chairman, declared: "All of us were so delighted because this has been a long march. I know that our supporters struggled for 30 years to reach this pinnacle. My first thought was to just share that moment with our supporters because without them, the club is nothing."

On Wednesday night, the club released a stirring social media video that has now had 11 million views. Before a haunting rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone takes over, Jürgen Klopp speaks in a way that would sound scripted, but for his proven history of channelling the club's emotions.

The more Klopp disavows the comparison with Bill Shankly, the more he sounds like him.

"This club means everything to the people. So it's our job to show that it means absolutely everything for us as well," says Klopp. "Where did you ever hear a better message than 'you'll never walk alone'? It's the most beautiful song in the world. Everybody feels it, everybody loves it, and everybody gets the message. In your darkest moments you are not alone. I love that."

But it was not just a music review. "We are Liverpool, and that means we have to entertain the people," said Klopp, setting out his manifesto.

And, of course, Liverpool's 19th title win is suffused with a sense of absence, of separation; the quietness of Anfield, the banishment of the fans who spur them on. "We will all be together soon," says Klopp.

In the 30 years referenced by Werner, Liverpool have won the Champions League twice, three FA Cups, four League Cups and a Uefa Cup. Four times they were runners-up in the Premier League. Eruptions of joy followed the Cup treble of 2001 and the "European Cup" wins of 2005 and 2019. Merseyside parades have kept themselves in business. Paradoxically, though, the club who look "outwards" to Europe and beyond have defined the "pinnacle" as domestic domination.

A three-decade wait left everyone at the club desperate to regain the status they held from the 1970s through to 1990: that of England's pre-eminent club. All those other triumphs from 1990 to 2020 were complicated by a nagging sense that Liverpool's exile from the top of the table had become embarrassing.

The counter-wave of hostility from outsiders has been less fierce than expected, perhaps because this team's supremacy is inarguable. Their brilliance and power can only be envied. Their enemies may have hoped that asterisks would pepper the record books for this distorted campaign, but Liverpool erased that possibility with their demolition of Crystal Palace, which left traditional "Liverpool-loathing" with nowhere to go except abroad on a plane (Sky cooked up a good skit in which Gary Neville went to ground and was eventually located at Manchester airport boarding a flight for Papua New Guinea).

Klopp, meanwhile, says he found kinship in Liverpool. "I love the Scouse soul," he said during the countless post-victory interviews.

"I love the way they love life in the city of Liverpool; I love the way they want to be different. They are different. I know a lot of Scousers and they are really good people and we both come from a region where we speak a pretty strong and strange dialect. Where I am coming from, nobody understands a word outside that region, and Scouse is pretty similar."

Talking to Kelly Cates on Radio 5 Live, Jordan Henderson was similarly effusive about the indivisibility of team and audience: "I can't wait until that moment when we're reunited and I can see them again, have some sort of celebration at some point," the captain said.

"It's more to thank them than celebrate. Thank them for everything they've done for us as a team and a club. Without them we wouldn't be in this position now. They're an amazing fan base, all over the world, everywhere I go there are crazy Liverpool fans everywhere who love the club and would do anything to watch us play."

That global reach is often missed when the rest of England peers quizzically at a club who present themselves as a huge extended family.

Love for one's team is to be found everywhere. But nobody would take Liverpool on in the articulation of that affection, just as no one can compete with Klopp's team.

Telegraph




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