The Liverpool Way

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The Liverpool Way, from an American By Kyle Mahoney   It’s a philosophy that everyone who is a part of Liverpool Football Club from Merseyside to Hong Kong feels and believes to understand, yet we can’t quite put it into words. Whether its memories of achieving glory, the ability and personality of players and managers past and present, or the act of fans analyzing the game post-match with fellow friends, all of these memories come together to define everyone’s individual interpretations of the Liverpool Way.   For me, a 23-year-old American living in Washington, DC., I’m much more removed from the city of Liverpool to be able to have an authentic sense of what the fans in the city feel towards their home club. I started following Liverpool in 2008-09 when Steven Gerrard was at his peak everything about the way he played made me fall in love with the shirt and club, and I’ve been a Red ever since. I’ve learned about the highs of Istanbul and the lows of Hicks and Gillette through my following of Liverpool, although I still think some things I will never be able to have a true understanding of. Figures like Bill Shankly and what he meant for the club, and events such as the Hillsborough Tragedy and the JFT96 campaign and its manifestation in the core of the city. I won’t even attempt to include these events in my interpretation, but for what it’s worth, here’s what the Liverpool Way means to me.   I fell in love with Liverpool watching Gerrard dominate games up and down the pitch with his ability to do anything required of him to produce when counted on, score world-class volleys, track a man 30 yards back into his own side and slide tackle the ball back to get us flowing again, and the fact that he was a captain and a leader. I played CM in my playing days and idolized him, from there, my love for the club grew. At first, the Liverpool Way meant everything our captain embodied giving everything for the cause, being a winner, having passion, being modest, being an example for others, and to never stop working. These are the top-class characteristics it takes to be a Liverpool player, and of course playing ability. The Liverpool Way means holding ourselves to the same standards that our idols on the pitch do for 90 minutes, every minute of our own lives.   As Liverpool fans, we must hold ourselves to the same standards that we do our players, managers, and owners. In its simplest form, the Liverpool Way is to walk the path that our idols walk, to live our lives with passion, desire, hope, and to never stop believing that success is right around the corner. The most frustrating thing about being a Liverpool fan from across the pond and being a subscriber to your show is seeing our fans fail in this regard.   Our inconsistency in form of late has brought this to light for me. Take the Sevilla match as an example first half, we’re the best team in England and Europe, second-half, all of our players (besides Mo) are shit, Klopp got it wrong, and we’re a terrible team. I’m simply awestruck with how this can be the reaction. While I understand results can be disappointing, trust me I feel them from my living room all the same, the reaction of our fan-base is inexcusable. Do we not have the ability to look at results over time? To see a progression and positives from a game and draw from them all the same as our players and manager does? Being a supporter is not about who can come up with the best insults to hurl at Lovren next time we play at Anfield. Of course, that’s not everyone in the ground, but for Christ’s Sake, if you’re going to be at the game in the Kop or in the stands, and batter our own players like they would get playing away, you’re not living the Liverpool Way. Hearing Tom’s stories of fans around him throwing insults at every pass make me so disappointed. I’ll have your season ticket thank you very much and I’ll be out there supporting every single one of the players from the first whistle to the last because that is the Liverpool Way. Being at Anfield is a privilege, I would do just about anything to be able to sing my heart out for 90 minutes, to add my voice to the roar of the crowd when momentum is building, and clap at a bit of skill and tidy play.   So many fans want to talk about how the players aren’t good enough and how we need world-class talent. I’m not saying criticism doesn’t have its place, it’s our job as fans to criticize our team, but let’s start holding ourselves to the same standards we do our club. We’re not going to win every game, just as life has its ups and downs, so get over it. Be critical of our team but be productive, be constructive, have point so we can draw from it and discuss it to form our own opinions, and ultimately improve so we’re ready for the next opportunity.   The Liverpool Way is just as much about embodying all the characteristics of our players as it is to achieve our collective goals by our own methods and our own styles. To get to the top and look down and say we did that not by copying another idea, but by staying true to what we believe and fighting for every inch. This is why I think Klopp is the perfect manager for our club and fans. He’s not going to sit up at the podium and give run around answers like Mourinho because that’s not the Liverpool Way. Klopp will be honest with the media, give them real insight to form opinions, crack jokes and smile, because that’s his way, his personality.   In the end, the Liverpool Way will continue to be an intangible idea and vary from person to person. This is what makes our club great and what will always keep us in the world-class club discussion. For me, it’s about living our lives in the same manner and holding ourselves to the same world-class standards that we do our club, despite form or results. This is why we need to first look inward at ourselves before shouting down from the stands at a mistake or misplaced pass. They’re our players, our heroes, and they’re human beings. They feel what we feel. Our biggest responsibility as fans is to fill our team with courage and belief, not anxiety. We’re the best club in the world, and it’s time that we all get back to acting like it, and get back to living the Liverpool Way.   YNWA
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