'LFC World' lands in Singapore – a rare treat for fans of the Reds
This writer has been a Liverpool fan ever since my first memory of English football, when mulleted Australian Craig Johnston famously scored in the 1986 FA Cup final victory over Everton.
It’s always special to come to Singapore. There are so many Liverpool supporters. We know how fanatical the fans are
So it was a joy to experience 'LFC World' at Suntec City Mall on Thursday, complete with club greats Ian Rush, Gary McAllister and Luis Garcia, and to be given a chance to write about it.
Having walked through a replica of the Shankly Gates, adorned of course with the ‘You’ll never walk alone’ motto and featuring the small plaque which pays tribute to former manager Bill Shankly, you step into a historical tribute to the famous English outfit.
My first stop was ‘Inside Anfield’, a Virtual Reality tour that uses the latest technology and has been made possible by Liverpool partners Standard Chartered.
It begins with a welcome by club great John Barnes alongside the Anfield pitch. With a complete 360-degree view of the famous old stadium, including the new Main Stand, it is a spectacular experience.
Barnes is soon joined by another club great and former teammate Robbie Fowler before fans are taken into the dressing room, where the entire first team is preparing for battle.
When Jurgen Klopp strides into the room for a final team talk, it is hard to resist the inclination to start clapping and cheer the team on.
You walk with the players past the famous ‘This is Anfield’ sign and onto the pitch, where a packed house is singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’
It was a sentiment echoed later in a chat with Garcia, who also took part in the virtual tour.
“It’s unbelievable,” Garcia told FourFourTwo. “It has the sound and the quality and when Jurgen Klopp is giving his speech, I almost clapped.
“You feel like you are in the dressing room. It’s amazing.”
You then walk with the players past the famous ‘This is Anfield’ sign and onto the pitch, where a packed house is singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.
The attention to detail is incredible and while I’ve been very fortunate to visit Anfield twice in my life, it offers the opportunity that many Reds may never get to experience first-hand.
A short time later, Rush, McAllister and Garcia are introduced to the crowd and the large media contingent, along with Mighty Red, the club mascot.
Mighty Red must have sensed I was a Liverpool fan as he quickly gave me a high-five, handed me a signed card with his photo on it, then had a bit of fun pretending to ask for money before he passed it over.
Mighty Red was a big hit with the kids, but the older fans were there for the legends, who first took a tour of the room and its walls draped in elements of the club’s history.
LFC LEGENDS DETAILS
There is also a replica of the Champions League trophy, which is such an important part of Liverpool’s identity. The Reds are one of only five clubs to have won it at least five times, along with Real Madrid, AC Milan, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
The players then take part in the ‘Robokeeper’ challenge where – as the name suggests – a robotic keeper protects a goal, with participants attempting to score past it.
It works by tracking the speed of shots and is labelled ‘the fastest keeper in the world’.
Hordes of people tried and very few managed to find a way past the keeper, although Liverpool’s record goalscorer Rush drew a huge cheer when he angled his first attempt perfectly into the top right corner.
“I can finally retire now,” the 55-year-old Welshman quipped.
The three players then fronted a press conference, with questions thrown at them from the assembled media.
One cheeky, older Liverpudlian – who clearly wasn’t with the press – took the opportunity to ask a question and was delighted at the chance to address Rush in particular.
If you are a Liverpool fan, or have ever wanted to experience a tour of Anfield, it’s well worth checking it all out
His question was about Rush’s favourite ever game, to which he replied – you'll never guess – the 1986 FA Cup final! Later he was also asked for his thoughts on Singapore.
“It’s always special to come to Singapore,” he said. “There are so many Liverpool supporters.
“We know how fanatical the fans are and we just ask that they keep getting behind the club and we know it will be successful.”
Then it was back to Robokeeper, with the ever-competitive Garcia intent on beating the technology.
“I only scored one out of 10,” he said. “It’s not easy.”
LFC World is in Singapore until Sunday, culminating with the three legends heading to McGettigan’s at Clarke Quay hosted by FourFourTwo HQ for a fully-ticketed party around the club’s Premier League match against Watford.
If you are a Liverpool fan, or have ever wanted to experience a tour of Anfield, it’s well worth checking it all out.
Photos: Matthew Ng Wei Shuen/FourFourTwo