The NBA may be the most successful sporting import in China, but that could be about to change with the Barclays Premier League finally starting to take hold in the world's third-largest country.

The growth in popularity has been driven by a new six-year TV deal which has made English football more accessible than ever before to millions of Chinese fans.

Just last month, China officially overtook Indonesia as the country with more Liverpool fans on social media than anywhere else in the world.

One of those fans is Chen Jing, a 22-year-old female fan from Shanghai - and she's the subject of this week's LFC Global Family feature...

Name: Chen Jing
Age: 22
City/country: Shanghai, China
Job: Student

Why did you pick Liverpool as your team?

Destiny willed it, I think - 10 years ago, I secretly fell in love with a boy. I was only 12 years old at that time and didn't have the courage to tell him. Thus the only thing I could do was to try learning about everything he liked, and yes, that included Liverpool. It seems such a stupid reason for picking Liverpool as my favourite football team, but I really want to thank that boy for letting me know about Liverpool. Though my unrequited love lasted only two months, my love of the Reds maintained from then on.

What's your earliest Liverpool memory?

My earliest Liverpool memory was in 2003 when I received my first computer as a present from my dad and I watched a lot of their games. I didn't even know the rules of soccer at that time, but the colour of Liverpool's kit really impressed me. It was a passionate red, that showed huge energy and courage.

How did people in your country follow Liverpool's fortunes at first?

I'm very lucky to live in a new century so that I can easily get a lot of information about the Reds from the internet and TV. But at first, the easiest way to follow Liverpool's fortunes was to listen to the radio, because there was no live broadcast on TV at that time.

Was it difficult to find out news or see the match?

Yes, it was difficult. Without the Internet, it was very difficult for us to find out news or see matches. Although we had radio, it was so slow that we used to have to wait for two or three days to check the result of some games.

Who was your first Liverpool hero and why?

I love almost every player who plays for Liverpool - both currently or retired - but, in my opinion, the one who deserves the title of 'my hero' is Steven Gerrard. I started to watch games in 2003, the year when Gerrard became the team captain and he showed his leadership. Although he admitted he was not satisfied with the progress Liverpool made in 2003-04, he chose to stay. The captain's armband had given him a sense of responsibility and made him become a man. These are the reasons why I love him and consider him a hero. He was my first Liverpool hero and maybe also the last one.

What is your favourite Liverpool memory?

I think the answer to this question will be the same for over 90 per cent of Kopites. It was the miracle which happened in Istanbul. There are so many words in this world and I just can't find the best one to describe such a night. So many football clubs have won the Champions League over the years, but only Liverpool won by way of a miracle.

Who has been your favourite Liverpool manager and why?

King Kenny Dalglish. We all know that Liverpool had a very poor time at the beginning of 2011. From players to fans, everyone was in such low spirits. It was King Kenny who saved Liverpool. How much courage did a coach have to have in order to take over such a team? No-one dared to try except King Kenny, because he loved the club and this love supported him in making this decision.

What has been your lowest point supporting Liverpool?

The 2008-09 season when we lost out on the title and finished second - the higher the expectation, the bigger the disappointment. I thought this could be a start of something new, but it didn't turn out that way.

Have you ever been to Anfield?

I have been to Anfield hundreds of times in my dreams. I want to make this dream come true in the near future.

Where were you while we were in Istanbul?

I watched the game at home. From 2003 to 2005, I was always very lonely as a Liverpool fan, because I didn't know anyone who loved the Reds like me at that time. No matter whether they won or lost, there was no-one who could share the happiness or sadness with me. Istanbul changed everything. Over 30,000 Kopites in the stadium and Liverpool fans all over the world showed me the real meaning of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' and the happiest thing was that Liverpool didn't let us down. When you really want to do something, the whole world will help you. All you need to do is keep your faith. I learned this lesson from Liverpool - from Istanbul.

Does Liverpool have a passionate fan base where you're from?

Yes! 'Deepred' is the biggest Liverpool fans' group in Shanghai and I have joined this group. Although DR is not yet recognised by Liverpool as an official supporters' club, it offers opportunities for members to watch matches together almost once a month and members also play football every weekend. It was established in 2011 and we have already got over 500 members. The numbers are increasing almost every day.

Which team are considered Liverpool's biggest rivals in your country?

In my country, Manchester United are Liverpool's biggest rivals.

Where do you go online to follow news about Liverpool?

I mainly follow news by surfing the club's official website, Facebook and Twitter - but we also have a website called 'Weibo' here in China and an app called 'Wechat'. I follow news about Liverpool from both of those two platforms, because they update a lot of information every day.

Do you also support a local team?

I sometimes watch my local team's games, but the only team I support is Liverpool. I still pay attention to the national soccer team though.

Who is your favourite current player and why?

That's a very difficult question! Besides my hero Gerrard, another favourite is Daniel Agger. He has a strong character and has always been a conscientious player. And, of course, he is handsome!

If you could meet anyone connected to Liverpool - past or present - who would it be and why?

I would like to meet so many people if I had the chance, but if I had to pick one, it would be King Kenny. I want to tell him how much courage he has given me. He makes me challenge myself every day and inspires me to contribute my life to something I really love. That is what he has changed in me, so he is my teacher - not only in the world of football but also in my way of life.

What makes you most proud to be a Liverpool supporter?

It's the supporters that make me proud. Last semester, I left Shanghai and began my studies in Japan alone. It was the first time I had left home for such a long time and I was so scared. However, my worries were unnecessary. I made friends with Japanese Kopites on the Internet and when I arrived in Japan, they helped me a lot. Liverpool brought us together and we became a family. Although I have come back to China, I still keep in touch with them. No matter where I go, there must be someone who has the same faith with me and we share both happiness and tears. Being a Liverpool supporter is not just about being a fan - it is more like joining a big family.

Finally, what does 'the Liverpool way' mean to you?

It has been 10 years since I fell in love with Liverpool. Compared to other Reds supporters, 10 years may be a short time, but for me - a 22-year-old girl from China - it has been long enough to become part of my life. When I hear 'You'll Never Walk Alone', I feel powerful and stronger. I would like to be a person who is always passionate and brave - just like Liverpool.




































我支持利物浦已经有10年了。相比于其他的红军球迷,10年可能很短,但对我一个22岁的中国女孩来说,这已经算长的了,它已经成为我生命的一部分。当我听到:"You'll Never Walk Alone",我就会充满力量。我希望自己是一个富有激情和勇敢的人,就像利物浦一样。

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Previous articles in the LFC Global Family series:

South Africa - Melissa Reddy>>
Thailand - Jeerawan Duangnam Herriot>>
Australia - Wayne Psaila>>
Mexico - Victor Alvarado>>
Indonesia - Andhika Sarwendha Suksmana>>
Nepal - Nischal Adhikari>>
Ghana - Aristo Dotse>>
India - Kaushal Goyal>>
Singapore - Henry Hann>>
Bahrain - Mohamed Ashoor>>
Mongolia - Amarsaikhan Orsoo>>
Vietnam - Pham Quynh Le>>
USA - July 4th Special>>
Iran - Mohammad Reza Rahimi>>
South Korea - Yong-Suk Choi>>
Norway - Arild Skjæveland>>
Russia - Ivan Potapov>>
Myanmar - Khin Maung Cho>>
USA - Roy Yates>>