How to do soccer in Liverpool
An effortless morning train ride got me to the mouth of the Mersey on the day of another Champions League game, Liverpool hosting Sevilla. The Americans who own the Boston Red Sox bought Liverpool in 2010 and looked into replacing the team’s historic stadium, Anfield, but decided to restore it instead. Good call. Anfield is modern in every sense, with comfy seats, nice sightlines and spiffy concession stands. Yet it still feels like a classic old park. It’s beautiful.
Liverpudlians have a choice between two sworn enemies: Liverpool in red, or Everton in blue. I had no idea the two clubs were physically so close together -- just an easy walk apart, across Stanley Park. In the taxi to Anfield, the driver, loyal to the Reds, pointed in the direction of Everton’s Goodison Park, and joked that I should plug my nose to avoid its odor. Certainly, Liverpool has enjoyed the sweet smell of success more often, especially in a golden era of 11 league titles and four European Cups in the 1970s and 1980s.
I got to Anfield well before kickoff, so I dropped into the fan shop, which is nicer than the one at Old Trafford (please don’t tell the Mancunians I said that) and everything is a bit cheaper, too. I toured the club museum, which is mostly devoted to former player Steven Gerrard (they really like the guy), and learned the history of the old Carousel song “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” And then I heard it first-hand, sung by thousands of fans, with Champions League bunting fluttering in the air and neat rows of terraced houses in view outside. Goodison Park, so close by, sat dark. Television, I assure you, doesn’t do that song justice. After that, it hardly mattered that Liverpool tied Sevilla.