After a three-week break, the Global LFC Family series returns and this week the spotlight is turned on Bahrain, a country with a population of just over 1.2 million people in the Middle East.
Not for the first time, Michael Owen's genius in 1998 proves the spark for another lifetime love of Liverpool FC...
Name: Mohamed Ashoor Age: 23 City / country: Manama, Bahrain Job: Social media manager
Why did you pick Liverpool as your team?
I remember when I was young and I saw England play Argentina in the 1998 World Cup. When Owen scored that goal I was blown away and immediately asked my dad about him. My dad told me he plays for this great team called Liverpool and urged me to follow them. He has been a fan since the 80s and he even got me cable TV to watch the Premier League soon after I saw the goal. As I grew older I fell in love with the club and I hold it above any and all players.
What's your earliest LFC memory?
I was about 9 when I started (or tried) to follow Liverpool so I don't have specific moments. I just remember the sheer joy of watching Owen, Fowler and Berger bang in great goals. Steven Gerrard's magnificent goal against Man United in 2001 (I think) is a great memory as well.
How did people in your country follow Liverpool's fortunes at first?
I remember back in the late 90s you could watch the Premier League on one network so for me personally it was alright but for many others, they just stuck with watching the news for sports updates and the latest goals. I also remember my dad telling me our state TV channel in Bahrain always showed the Milk Cup.
Was it difficult to find out news or see the match?
When it came to the news, it wasn't that bad - you could always just watch the daily news updates. However, watching every match was tricky. The network that covered the Premier League would only show one or two matches a day so unless Liverpool were playing in a major match (Man United or Arsenal for example) I couldn't watch it all. That was the case until 2004, I think, when they started covering almost every match in the league. I still remember going mental when Gerrard scored the 90th-minute winner against Charlton in 2003, even though I only kept up by refreshing a score page online!
Who was your first LFC hero and why?
Considering he was the reason I started really following the club, it's fair to say Michael Owen was my first one. I used to love watching him score goals. Right now, I may not look at him the same way I did before but I still owe it to him for introducing me to the greatest football club there is.
What is your favourite LFC memory?
Could there be a more obvious answer to this question? It has to be Istanbul. Feeling so gutted and depressed at half-time then going through the most exhilarating and somehow torturous match of football I've ever seen and ending it with sheer joy is something you can never ever forget. On a more personal level, in 2010-11 I was lucky enough to be finishing my studies in the UK and I got to attend several matches at Anfield. My first match was the 2-0 win against Chelsea (Torres scored two) and the stadium was rocking so hard that day. I cannot forget it at all but my favourite match has to be Kuyt's hat-trick against Manchester United. I remember jumping like a mad man and hugging complete strangers when Luis assisted the first goal. Unforgettable!
Who has been your favourite Liverpool manager and why?
Rafa Benitez. I will always respect Houllier for what he did for us but Rafa was incredible. I am a bit too young to remember the days of the greats such as Shankly, Paisley etc so for me Rafa was the first manager that made me truly believe we can dominate Europe. It's a shame he never got to win the league with us, especially in the remarkable 2008-09 season. He also defended the club in its worst times and I will forever thank him for that.
What has been your lowest point supporting Liverpool?
Losing the Champions League final against AC Milan in 2007 and losing the league to Manchester in 2008-09. The first one is because I think there would have been no stopping us if we'd managed to win our second European Cup in only two years. Also, I remember being so sad when Michael Owen left the club, but that turned out to be a blessing because it made me realise that no matter who plays for Liverpool, and who we idolise, the club will always be our biggest love.
How many times have you been to Anfield?
I've been to five matches and we won four and drew one, so I believe I am a good luck charm! In no particular order, these are a few of my favourite moments:
1. The bouncing at Anfield as we beat Chelsea 2-0 in my first ever match in the stadium. 2. Visiting Anfield for a stadium tour (for the second time) with one of my best friends the day after we were bought by FSG and accidentally running into John Henry himself in the club shop! We took pictures with him and he was a great gentleman. 3. Kuyt's hat-trick against Manchester United. 4. Luis Suarez's debut against Stoke. I was in the Kop and it was so loud when he started warming up in front of us and then he came on and scored! 5. My first ever visit to Anfield in 2008. I only went on a tour but I loved every minute of it. It was a dream come true.
Where were you while we were in Istanbul?
I was watching the match at a friend's house. I don't really know what to say about that final because it was simply a rollercoaster of emotions. As I mentioned before, I was so gutted at half-time...I was almost in a state of shock. Up until the moment Gerrard won the penalty, I was thinking, 'Is this real?! Could this really happen?!' I even hid behind the sofa while peeking to see if Xabi was going to score it. I also remember Dudek very fondly not only because of his miraculous saves but also for his antics. He actually managed to make me laugh a bit and ease the tension. I don't even remember watching what happened after he saved Sheva's last penalty, I was too busy jumping up and down. When everything finally ended, I sat with my friend outside and told him, 'I still can't believe it, we are really the champions of Europe.'
Do Liverpool have a passionate fan base where you're from?
We do have a great following in Bahrain and the Arab gulf in general. It may not be the biggest fan base but it's a lot more than you'd expect and all of us stick with the club through thick and thin. You can simply take a look at the club's official Arabic account on Twitter to know what I'm talking about. I think it would even be a lot more if it wasn't for the fact a lot of the supporters are not really part of the 'Twitter generation'.
Which team are considered Liverpool's biggest rivals in your country?
Who else? Manchester United. I have many friends who are United supporters and the tenacity they have towards Liverpool is on a completely other level. They realise we are the ones to beat when it comes to records and trophies and it will always make us stand out.
Where do you go online to follow news about LFC?
The official website, mostly. I'm not big on reading rumours because I think they only drive supporters crazy. I prefer to have my news confirmed and trustworthy.
Do you also support a local team?
I do but it's only to a certain level. I grew up supporting Al Ahli in Bahrain and I still have soft spot for them but I hardly ever watch any local sports anymore.
Who is your favourite current player and why?
Steven Gerrard. He is the legend to me and I will always consider him the best football player I have ever seen in a red shirt. The amount of times he's managed to do the impossible and rescue the team is unreal...his performance in the Champions League final of 2005, the 'Gerrard' FA Cup final and even his goal against Marseille. What a gem he is.
If you could meet anyone connected to Liverpool FC - past or present - who would it be and why?
Can I have two? Kenny Dalglish and Steven Gerrard. First it would be Kenny because of the history he made at this club and the great gestures over the years. Second, I really want to meet Stevie because he is my ultimate all-time hero in football and I admire him for everything he is.
What makes you most proud to be a Liverpool supporter?
The amazing bond between the supporters and the club. We stand together in everything and we do not care even if it will be us alone against the whole world. The way the supporters stand together on matters like Hillsborough is inspiring. I am truly proud to be in love with this great club. Our anthem says it all: We never walk alone.
Finally, what does 'the Liverpool way' mean to you?
Unity - that's what it means. We are a club that stands as one with the supporters no matter what happens. Whether on the football pitch or off it, we always defy the odds. We did it in 2005, we did it with the truth about Hillsborough finally coming out. I do believe that football is NOT a matter of life and death but for as long as we live we will always breathe red.