Yesterday, we covered an assortment of rival fans’ perspectives on why they don’t want Liverpool to win the league. And after Manchester United’s second-half capitulation to their intracity foe, they might just get their wish.
The “Liverpool fans will be insufferable” narrative has been prevalent all season long. And there’s a reason for it, one that none of our rival fans touched on: that we already are insufferable because we love our club.
This is not me arguing that Liverpool fans are somehow superior, or that our love for our club somehow exceeds theirs. But Liverpool fans have a strange combination of being, a) extremely in love with their own club, b) having a very large fan base the world over, and, c) being extraordinarily and irrationally optimistic.
A small example of the last point came from Paul Cope on Monday’s Talking Reds.
Of course there’s the small matter of Barcelona in a semifinal, and the final if we’re fortunate enough to get through to it. But no matter, we’re winning the Champions League. Maybe as a consolation.
Yup. I can see why rival fans find us insufferable. This is how we are when we’re not winning anything. Oh yeah, Barcelona, with the greatest player ever to kick a ball? Yeah, we’ll do them. No problem.
Even bad Liverpool teams in the last decade had unearned optimism surrounding them. We think of 2013/14 as a blown opportunity, when in reality, it was a miracle run—a once in a lifetime chemical reaction that will never be duplicated—that got us to a very unlikely spot to begin with. We remember mediocre to terrible Liverpool sides under the second coming of Kenny Dalglish, or in the dying embers of the reign Brendan Rodgers taking points from United or City or Arsenal or Chelsea. Even when we’re bad, this is a team that will still often play for pride.
All of this brings me to Daniel Agger’s other club, Brøndby IF. If ever there were a Danish corollary to Liverpool, it would be Brøndby. Their fans are as passionate as they come. And everyone else hates them for it.
I had this realization, and not for the first time, on Monday while watching FC Midtjylland host Brøndby. The visitors are a distant 5th in the league, a disappointing campaign after just missing out (to FCM) last year. Midtjylland, meanwhile, are fighting for the league again, against Copenhagen (though, after Monday that fight is just about well and truly over). You wouldn’t have known it from the crowds though.
Brøndby fans sang, chanted, cheered, jeered, and waved flags and flares the entire match. Their tiny away section of yellow and blue put the home crowd to shame.
To an outsider, their energy was infectious. I found myself nodding along, subconsciously, to their constant drumming and songs. Yes, I was there, in black and red and to support Midtjylland, but I couldn’t help but admire Brøndby because I saw myself in them.
They love their club, like Liverpool fans do. It’s a love built over the ages, through thick and through thin, and especially through the thin. It didn’t matter what the standings were or where the game was played, they were going to give FCM a game. Besides, they had some payback to dish out after last season. And it worked, Brøndby spoiled the party for the home side, leaving 2-1 victors on the day.
I can see why Agger, having grown up in that environment, would embrace Liverpool the way he did. And I can see why other fans absolutely hate it. We’ll be insufferable when we win, because we’re insufferable when we don’t. We love our club, and no amount of banter will ever change that.
Up the Reds.