Tucked away in the Himalayas, Nepal might not be world renowned for being a hotbed of Liverpool support.
But as this latest installment of the Global LFC Family series proves, despite arriving late to the party, the passion for the Reds amongst the Nepalese is huge...
Name: Nischal Adhikari Age: 21 City / country: Kathmandu, Nepal Job: IT Student; Part-time teacher; secretary/admin at Liverpool FC Nepal /supporters of Liverpool FC in Nepal (OLSC Nepal)
Why did you pick Liverpool as your team?
I'd have to say Steven Gerrard, although I first watched him play in the 2004 Euros. Then one of my brothers gave me a picture of Steven in a Liverpool shirt. Beside that picture were the lyrics of 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. I was so impressed by the lyrics that I started listening to it. Watching the fans sing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' during European nights at Anfield was simply majestic. That is what sparked my love affair with Liverpool.
What's your earliest LFC memory?
I don't remember very well who we were up against but I do remember Gerrard and Alonso scoring in it. I watched a full Liverpool match on December 8, 2004 [versus Olympiacos] and that was on my birthday - I was 13 and what a birthday gift it was from Stevie! Stevie said he didn't want to wake up the next morning in the Europa League and neither did I want that for Liverpool. Almost nine years after, I still remember Andy Gray going bonkers as Stevie G hit the ball for the third goal that helped us qualify to the knock out stages like it was yesterday.
How did people in your country follow Liverpool's fortunes at first?
Well, they followed mostly through the TV, radio and newspapers. The internet wasn't as common and fast as it is right now, so people mostly watched matches on the TV and read about the Premier League results and reviews in the papers. There were some sports magazines available to read as well. And news shows on the radio and television both had a sports section where they covered the Premier League.
Was it difficult to find out news or see the match?
Since the TV and radio stations always had sports-section featured at the end of the news, it wasn't that much of a hassle. But, due to the lack of proper cables and channels, there were times when we couldn't get to watch matches.
Who was your first LFC hero an why?
As I started supporting the Reds during the 2004-05 season, I'd say Steven Gerrard without thinking for a second. There is hardly another player that could turn a match around so single-handedly, as he did most of the time throughout that season. Carra, Hyypia, Alonso and Fowler are the other players that I admired - and still very much admire.
What is your favourite LFC memory?
The miracle of Istanbul, obviously. How can that not be anyone's favourite memory? What a night that was. I'm sure all Liverpool fans will never forget that night. Winning the FA Cup against West Ham, Gerrard's Olympiacos cracker, the Champions League semi-final at Anfield v Chelsea in 05, and the return of the King are some other moments I'll cherish forever.
Who has been your favourite Liverpool manager and why?
Rafa Benitez - a great tactician with an equally amazing personality and the mastermind behind that night at Istanbul and many other victories. He built a foundation for a great team and I still think that he could have delivered us the 19th league title had he been backed a little better in the transfer market. Also I loved the way he handled the media and his no-nonsense approach. King Kenny's second coming was great to witness as well. Now I feel with Brendan Rodgers we are in good hands.
What has been your lowest point supporting Liverpool?
The time under Hicks and Gillett and Roy Hodgson. Our financial problems nearly caused a point deduction and left me fearing about relegation and going into administration. The team under Hodgson wasn't performing well, either. With all respect to Mr Hodgson, I was kind of relieved when King Kenny was finally brought on to replace him. Also I was in tears when I learnt about the Hillsborough and Heysel disasters. My prayers and warm wishes go out to all the families of those tragedies. RIP 39 and JFT 96.
Have you ever been to Anfield?
Not yet. I hope to be there soon! Hopefully next year.
Where were you while we were in Istanbul?
As I wasn't allowed to go out, I had to stay home. And I didn't have any friends who supported Liverpool at school so I watched the match alone. I begged my parents to let me stay up late and watch the match. I remember my dad giving me a hard time and telling me to go to sleep as we went 3-0 down at half-time but I stayed up and watched all the drama unfold. When the match was over, I couldn't sleep that night. I honestly couldn't wait to flaunt about the win to my friends at school.
Do Liverpool have a passionate fan base in Nepal?
Yes! This is the land of the brave Gurkhas and you must've heard about how loyal and committed we are. So, yes, there are lots of supporters who are very passionate about the club. They take every chance to show off their support and allegiance to Liverpool and hence the streets of Kathmandu, Pokhara, Biratnagar and other cities can give us glimpses of motorcycles and cars donning Liverpool stickers and banners. People from all the age groups wear Liverpool shirts with pride.
The online communities have helped expand the fan base even further. In three years as one of the admins of the biggest Liverpool Nepali Facebook group, 'Supporters of Liverpool FC in Nepal', I have come across many people that are very passionate about the club. There are always a good number of people attending the screenings and gatherings and others who aren't in the proximity to attend the events, conveying best regards to us cheering the team on. There are fans who have 'You'll Never Walk Alone' inked on their arms and backs as well. Every Liverpool fan I know dreams of going to Anfield and experiencing the magical Kop at some point in their lives.
Which team are considered Liverpool's biggest rivals in your country?
Manchester United because of the rivalry and history between the two teams. Every Liverpool-Manchester United screening that we organise always has a big attendance and the atmosphere is awesome.
Where do you go online to follow news about LFC?
The official Liverpool FC site, Facebook and Twitter page. I and a few other people run a Twitter (@lfcnepal) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/lfcnepal) for latest news about the club and local events like screenings, gathering or sporting activities. We have also initiated work for a website with the vision of it being a central hub for all the Himalayan Kopites. Hopefully I'll be able to give an update on that soon.
Do you also support a local team?
Although I don't follow them as closely as I follow Liverpool, I like Three Star Club.
Who is your favourite current player and why?
Steven Gerrard - I don't think I need to say why. He's Mr Liverpool. He's a true leader and inspirational figure, on and off the pitch. The way he carries himself and the team is such a joy to watch. And that Uruguayan fellow that Kenny signed in January 2011. He isn't bad, is he? Luis has come in and settled in so well. He's done justice to the No.7 shirt so far. I hope he stays on at Anfield for a number of years to come and helps to take the club towards glory. Daniel Agger and Lucas Leiva are my other favourite players. They play with such passion and commitment, it's hard not to like them. Also, it's going to be hard to see Carra hanging up his boots. Carragher gives 110 per cent for the club every time he pulls on the Red shirt.
If you could meet anyone connected to Liverpool FC - past or present - who would it be and why?
Steven Gerrard. He's the reason that I support the best team in the world today. It would be an absolute honour to meet him. If I do manage to meet him sometime, it'd definitely be one of the best days in my life. But you know what would be best? A round table chat with Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Kenny Dalglish, Rafa Benitez and Steven Gerrard. That would be amazing.
What makes you most proud to be a Liverpool supporter?
Following Liverpool has given me some unforgettable moments and sometimes has helped me through tough times as well. Watching the Reds play as the Kop roars is one if the best experiences. It's not only a mere football club, but it's a huge global family. And being a part of this great family is a matter of great pride and privilege. It's a very unique love affair.
Finally, what does 'the Liverpool way' mean to you?
'The Liverpool way' for me is a way of life that teaches us to never drop our heads down and always stick together in times of trouble. Through the darkest of nights and through the worst of storms, stay strong and walk on and with the hope that there's a golden sky. It teaches us to never walk alone. Follow the Liverpool way, and you'll never walk alone.