Men’s football “Liverpool fans are travel hunters, not glory hunters”

LIVERPOOL, Norwich, Porto, Madrid, Milan, London, Brighton, Lisbon, Newcastle, Villarreal, Saint-Denis…

No, this is not an excerpt from electro duo Lemon Jelly’s track ‘Ramblin’ Man’, these are just a few of the places touring Liverpool fans will have visited this season if they were lucky enough to get to each game to go.

Jurgen Klopp hinted at the start of the season that next year could be a bit of a journey.

“A friend of mine who is closer to fan culture than I could ever admit told me that people support Liverpool not because they are glory hunters but because they are travel hunters,” said the German last August. “I love that feeling.”

It’s not easy to follow this club, from the costs involved to the sheer difficulty of getting tickets to matches. But the few who have found a way to do so during the current season are enjoying the best ride that top-flight football has to offer at this point.

Few of any generation of Liverpool fans would argue that this isn’t the best Liverpool side they’ve ever seen. It is certainly the most entertaining.

Klopp and his staff assembled and shaped a team capable of competing for titles while delighting fans and spectators alike with their scintillating and energetic brand of attacking football.

Liverpool fans at Anfield experienced/suffered the full range of emotions last Sunday as their team put on another dramatic performance.

The Premier League title returned to Manchester City’s hands from a distant goal as Pep Guardiola’s side scored three goals in quick succession against Aston Villa to clinch their fourth league title in five years.

Klopp’s side have already added the EFL Cup and FA Cup to the club’s bulging trophy cabinet this season and these cannot be underestimated when judging how good this team really is.

Their progression in every competition they have participated in is a massive achievement in itself and means this weekend’s Champions League final will be their 63rd game of the season, the maximum they have played.

They’ve only lost three of the 62 games they’ve already played, but there’s still a feeling they need to win that one last game to prove it, to be remembered as the great team they obviously are.

An already successful season based on just one game seems unfair but Liverpool live under Klopp for such situations.

In just over six and a half years as Liverpool manager, the German has guided the club to eight major finals (including the Club World Cup – try to tell football fans outside of Europe that the Club World Cup isn’t a big trophy). They’ve won four of those, lost three and have one remaining this weekend.

Liverpool is the European club in the English league. Not just because they have six European Cups to their name, but because the city they live in is one of the most global and cosmopolitan in England. It often ties itself more comfortably to the rest of the world than to its own country.

Only two clubs have more European victories than Liverpool – AC Milan and this weekend’s opponents Real Madrid.

“I really think the world is both [Real Madrid] white or [Liverpool] red that day,” said Klopp in his pre-final press conference.

“I think there are some people who obviously don’t like us too much and they will support Real Madrid and there are some people who don’t like Madrid too much and they will support us.

“It’s going to be a great game. Historically, there have always been two teams in this competition and that’s a good sign now. Competing with such caliber is the best thing to do.”

Liverpool are set to host a parade in the city on Sunday which will at least celebrate their domestic cup double this season, but the hope is the team will also have the Champions League trophy on the bus to accompany them.

Around 750,000 people lined the city streets to welcome the team back after their Champions League victory in 2019. Given the popularity of this legendary team and coach, and their continued success since then, there could be more this time around.

Asked about Sunday’s parade, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said: “My full focus is on Saturday’s game and hopefully we can perform, we can do business in Paris and take the Champions League trophy to Liverpool return.

“That would be very special and something the fans and the team deserve I think, but we know it’s never easy.

“It’s going to be really tough and we need to be totally focused on the game and give it our all like we’ve been doing all season and see what happens.”

The sweetest thing for fans following Liverpool is revealed in Henderson’s final words.

All season long, from the cup final to winning the Premier League to the last matchday, they have been in position to see what happens.

In the 62 games Liverpool have played so far this season, mostly something pretty good has happened. All you need now is one win to make the final leg of this soccer trek from Paris back to Liverpool feel the same.

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