“Being on the Kop cannot be compared” – A Lebanon Red’s long-distance Liverpool love

Our series Long Distance Liverpool Love shines a light on devoted fans who grew up as a Red away from Merseyside. Here, Mahmoud from Lebanon shares his Liverpool FC story.

I started supporting Liverpool because…

It all started in 2001. The first game I watched was against Man United at Anfield when Stevie scored that amazing rocket in Barthez’s net.

I was a nine-year-old kid and did not really know a lot about football, I was sitting in my room going over the TV channels and the game had just started.

I honestly have no idea why, but I just started watching and out of nowhere I felt connected to this club. To be honest, I would be lying if I told you I followed every single game that season or even the season after it, but I knew deep down that I loved that club.

Steven Gerrard scores Liverpool's opening goal during the FA Carling Premiership game against Manchester United at Anfield, Liverpool. March 2001 (David Davies/PA Archive/PA Images)

Back then we had no internet and I was still a young kid so I was not always able to keep up with the latest news. I used to follow up on game results through the newspaper that we received on Sundays, I would look for any article talking about Liverpool.

I found out we won the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup from the paper and, weirdly, that was a lot of happy news for a kid who lived thousands of miles away from a club that played in the name of a city he knew nothing about.

You might laugh at this, but when someone asks me if I believe in love at first sight, I would say yes and deep down I would be telling myself “how else did I fall in love with this cub!”


My fondest memory involving Liverpool is…

AC Milan UEFA Champions League Final - Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul - 25/5/05 Liverpool players carry the trophy down the tunnel to the applause of their fans (Image Credit: Action Images / Darren Walsh)

The 2005 Champions League final. I was crying my eyes in silence at half-time. I could not believe what I was seeing. I remember at that time I was 13 and all my classmates were telling me there is no way we will win.

At full-time after Dudek made that save and Stevie lifted the cup, I was dancing and celebrating in my room. If I look back, there are so many great memories, but what is amazing about the 2005 Champions League final is that every time I remember it, I get that special feeling taking me back to my childhood.

I still recall the next day at school when I was walking into the class and most of my classmates did not watch the game because it was too late. They did not believe me when I said Liverpool won. Almost everyone turned off the TV at 3-0. Luckily, I did not!


My typical matchday routine for the Reds is…

I first have to check the team sheet and Klopp’s press conference from the previous day.

If the game happens to be during the afternoon then I would most probably watch the game at home with my LFC mug filled with coffee, but if the game is at night, I’ll go watch with my friends.

Of course, I cannot watch the game without wearing my Liverpool jersey and tweeting ‘come on Reds’ at kick-off.


What does the club mean to you?

Liverpool has been a huge part of my life. I remember cancelling or postponing family plans, flights or outings because they happen to be at the same time as a Liverpool game.

Sometimes, I have to travel for work and I will be at the airport holding my phone and watching the game. I almost never miss a Liverpool game.

Every day while having my morning coffee I have to check the latest news and after every game, win or lose, I watch the highlights.

When Liverpool win after a bad week, the week does not seem bad at all and when Liverpool lose after a good week, the week certainly does not seem to be good at all!


My Liverpool dream that came true is…

It was December 2018 when I watched the Reds in action from the Kop for the first time.

I watched Liverpool live before in 2015, but that was an away game in the Europa League. The feeling of being on the Kop cannot be compared to any other feeling. I watched two games, the 4-0 against Newcastle and the 5-1 against Arsenal.

I remember just how loud we were and how after Liverpool conceded the first goal in the Arsenal game everyone in the stadium was supporting the team as if we had just scored. I am pretty sure the noise had Arsenal players afraid!

As for the next dream, it is going back to Anfield with my family. My wife and I are expecting our first child and I would love to go back there with them.


Tell us more about the special Reds in Lebanon…

With immense pride, I can say I was one of the first people who joined and helped build the Liverpool supporters club in Lebanon. In 2009 when I joined the group there were less than 50 members, and only 10-20 people would show for matchday gatherings.

Now we have over 1,300 members and for the 2019 Champions League Final we had 1,200 attendees.

A lot of hard work has been put in but the main reason for the success of this supporters club is the love and respect spread among the members.

Previously, our events were limited to matchday gatherings but since the day the club recognised our group as an official supporters club, a lot has changed.

On yearly basis, we hold football tournaments where the members gather in teams of five and we enjoy a day of football.

In 2016, we were able to host Luis Garcia, which was a shock for other supporters clubs in Lebanon as we were the first and only ones who organised such an event.

We always try, as much as possible, to organise charity events. Unfortunately, with the country’s current situation, we are not able to organise such events too often, despite the need. But whenever we find a chance to do so, we go for it.

I joined the supporters club in 2009 as a member and met others who later became friends. After 14 years, I feel that those friends are my family. Our chats, outings and relationships are not just about Liverpool but I am thankful that through this club, I was able to meet them.


And if I could invite three Liverpool figures past or present to my country, they would be…

This is a tough one because I really cannot think of only three…

Number one is Steven Gerrard, and I do not think I need to say why! Stevie is the first player I loved in a Liverpool shirt. In Arabic, we have a saying that the only true love is the first love.

Next would be Jurgen Klopp. Jurgen is a genius. He is the main reason behind all the glory we had in the past few years. He is a humble guy.

I had the chance to take a picture with him outside the team hotel before the Newcastle game in 2018. I remember it well, despite a lot of people waiting, Klopp took pictures with every single fan waiting.

The last one for me would be Fernando Torres or Luis Suarez. I really cannot decide which player I like the most between those two.

They were a joy to watch, scoring amazing goals every week, and lifting the team up in difficult situations, and I believe every time either of them were on the pitch the defenders facing them would be freaking out!

* Thanks again to Mahmoud for sharing his story, you can follow OLSC Lebanon on Twitter @LFCLebanon.