In an article commissioned by Liverpoolfc.com, football author Brian Reece examines the global appeal of Liverpool Football Club and tries to discover why fans all over the world just can't get enough of the Reds...
As I stand on the dock watching the boats go past, I remember how proud I am to be connected to this city. Both parents, grandparents and great grandparents are from here.
My whole family are from here. I am proud of that. For me, Liverpool is more than just a place, it's a fundamental part of my life. To me, it's the most beautiful city in the world, as are its people. And then there's Liverpool Football Club.
Liverpool Football Club is one of the most famous and widely supported teams in the world. The club is drenched in history and tradition, playing its part in many of football's greatest memories. It holds the hearts of millions of supporters all over the world - you would be hard pushed to find a corner of the globe without a Liverpool fan.
In some parts of the world, Liverpool FC enjoys more support than local teams. Take Ireland, the birthplace of Guinness - with 31 official supporters' groups there are plenty of Irish Reds to toast Scouse victories with a pint of the black stuff.
One of them is 21-year-old Phil Mahon. "In Ireland and particularly in my age group we are surrounded by Liverpool and United fans,"he said.
"The United fans have known nothing other than success, but I have always proclaimed to them that supporting Liverpool was different to supporting anyone else, and that Liverpool Football Club itself was different to any other club, all of which of course fell on deaf ears.
"Growing up as a child my birthday seemed to always fall on the final weekend of the season, which inevitably led to United winning the league or being embroiled in a title challenge which took over the day, there was no escaping it."
Phil recalls his proudest moment as a Liverpool supporter: "2001 was a fantastic season, but for me 2005 was my year.
"Throughout the whole campaign we showed what Liverpool Football Club is all about, we showed that what everyone else says about LFC doesn't matter, because we are Liverpool and we do things our way.
"It reaffirmed everything I had said for years previous, and still say to this day. The 25th of May 2005 showed that whilst we may not be at the top of our game now, we will always be back."
There are currently 13 official LFC supporters' clubs in the United States. Philippine-born Carl Nicholas is a Liverpool fanatic now living in the USA. He dreams of coming to Anfield.
"I've cursed at televisions, thumped my laptop, kicked my sofa, and spilled cereal on myself while watching Liverpool on four different continents, from Manila to San Francisco, from Cuzco to Cape Town, Always, it's been in front of a screen. Always, watching the Reds from afar," he said.
"I've never been to Anfield, never stood on the Kop, never held my scarf up while belting out 'You'll Never Walk Alone' with 40,000 other souls.
"For the entire gamut of my Liverpool-supporting experience, I have watched them on a screen - often it was in front of a television at home, waking up in the middle of the night in Manila to catch the Reds storming through the Champions League.
"Sometimes it was at a bar on Saturday and Sunday night, catching Premier League games with friends over beers and the occasional midnight steak.
"Since I moved from the Philippines to North America two-and-a-half years ago, it's been waking up at the crack of dawn to stream games on my laptop, or trudging through winter to a pub at 7.30am to watch Liverpool vs. Man United."
I felt nothing but sadness for Carl, as I know what it is to stand with my father and then my son cheering on the Reds. I know what it's like with scarf aloft singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.
It is an exhilarating experience. Despite the fact that so many Liverpool fans will never cheer the team from the Kop, they remain loyal and committed supporters.
Yankee Red Eric Vogel managed to make his Liverpool dream come true, visiting Anfield in 2011. His story started nearly seven years ago, when his wife bought him a Liverpool shirt by chance.
"It was Christmas 2006, while my wife took a quick trip to Florida to visit a friend," he explained.
"In the English part of Epcot, she stumbled upon soccer jerseys. She had seen me watch several soccer recordings prior, and could not remember exactly which clubs they were.
"But something about the crest on a certain jersey drew her attention, and from here I began my journey of becoming a passionate Liverpool fan.
"I remember watching my first Liverpool game and witnessing the Kop in action for the first time. Even on a screen, the passion hit me with an intensity I'd never felt or seen with any other sport.
"In basketball, they clap and chant. In baseball, they do Mexican waves. But I had never seen a stadium so alive with devotion and commitment until I saw Liverpool playing at Anfield.
"With the help of being a member of the US supporters' club, I was able to obtain tickets to a match against Man United.
"Through correspondence with Antoine Zammit, who runs 'Empire of the Kop', we ended up spending the weekend in Liverpool with him, his boss and nephew.
"It was like we were friends forever. My wife and I fell in love with the city of Liverpool - in fact she is now a huge Beatles fan.
"[Liverpool] is something that makes me cheer, something that makes me mad, that makes me cry.
"It is a passion that I have never experienced in any sport. I have been to many major sporting events in the US, but everything pales in comparison to what I experienced in Merseyside. Liverpool is not just a team to me, it's a way of life."
What about the fans from South America? According to Claudio Virginio, there are lots of LFC fans in Brazil.
"Even though they play on the other side of the Atlantic, Liverpool captivates us here in Brazil, we wear our LFC jersey with pride.
"Thanks to social networking there are many discussion groups, forums and meetings to watch matches - we have started a social networking site, LFCBrazil, to keep all Brazilian fans informed with what's happening at the club.
"It's very popular. We look every day at the official club website and English newspapers to keep up to date. We want to start an official supporters' club here as many fans here would love to get involved.
"We have had an exclusive interview with Lucas, which was really great for our Brazilian fans. We want to spread the LFC word all over Brazil, when we go on holiday or overseas trips we always take our LFC scarves with us and wear them with pride."
Johanna Licaylicay, who lives in the Philippines, echoes Claudio's thoughts. More than 6,000 miles separate Liverpool from Quezon City, but her connection is strong.
Johanna doesn't remember all of the details of her first match but she does remember what made her watch until the very end.
She said: "Up until the waning moments of the game, despite the impending loss of the guys in red, their supporters didn't stop cheering. They didn't stop singing. I sang along to 'You'll Never Walk Alone' since I recognised it.
"Somehow, the way these people sang the song struck me. They sounded like they meant it."
Hooked, Johanna read up on the Reds. She was struck by what she found.
"When I first read Bill Shankly's vision of 'creating a bastion of invincibility', it gave me goosebumps; powerful words coming from a man who wanted to create an empire, a force to be reckoned with - an entity that is larger than football itself. True enough, the Liverpool way is a way of life that is shared by its supporters.
"Ironically, what struck me about [Bob Paisley] were not the titles and accolades. It was a picture of him carrying Emlyn Hughes off the pitch. Surely, Hughes could have been placed on a stretcher, but Paisley did it himself.
"At that moment, carrying his player on his back, he showed everyone that he was literally up to the task of taking care of the club. It was such a striking and moving image.
"For a person living on the other side of the world, who has never even seen the shadow of Anfield, having the same passion for supporting the same club is a strong bond between two Kopites."
Jo is an editor for an independent LFC fan site called LFCTS. She enjoys the interaction with fellow Reds.
"It wasn't until a few years back, with the invention of Facebook, that I started engaging in discussions with Reds around the world," she continued.
"It was then that I realised that these encounters strengthened my passion for the club, something that I didn't know was possible.
"The exchange of ideas and debates with regard to the current difficulties of the club really enriched my understanding of not just Liverpool but the game itself.
"I have read about some Filipino LFC supporters who ran 15k in support of the six Reds who ran from Sheffield to Anfield last April.
"Although compared to other Asian countries, Filipino Reds may be fewer in number, I am willing to bet that with the Filipino characteristics of bayanihan (pulling resources together to help one another) and pagpapahalaga sa pamilya (valuing familial ties), the Red contingents in the country are true Liverpool supporters who will stick with the club through thick and thin."
Those values appear to stretch all the way from Quezon City to Macedonia. Plator Sllamniku is a Kosovo Red. He saw his first Liverpool game in Macedonia's capital.
"July 29, 2010. Skopje, Macedonia" he explained.
"I remember it was a sunny Thursday afternoon. I was in a car, singing 'Fields of Anfield Road', en route to the Philip II Arena, Macedonia's national stadium. More than 120 passionate Reds were making the trip from Kosovo to watch the match.
"For some, like myself, it would be our first time to watch the game live.
"We gathered at the city centre early that afternoon. We sang through Skopje's streets for hours, creating a massive roar. People stopped and stared at us. We wanted everyone to know that we are the Kosovo Reds.
"An hour before kick-off as we were finding our seats, the players started pouring onto the field. Lucas Leiva. Daniel Agger. Martin Skrtel. It was all surreal.
"It wasn't too long ago that I was sat in class, daydreaming of seeing the mighty Reds and now, they are here. I couldn't believe that I was finally seeing the players who represent the club that I have supported and devoted my life to.
"Before the match started, we chanted the players' names as loudly as we could, even Jonjo Shelvey, who was 18 at that time."
For Plator, there was one particular moment that sticks out.
"The players, taking notice of our relentless chanting, applauded us, showing how much they appreciated our support.
"For fans like us, who have supported Liverpool FC for a long time despite being unable to visit Anfield, a simple gesture like that from our players goes a long way.
"It felt like an acknowledgement that there were fans from this country who were as passionate about the club as people from Liverpool. The memory of being in the same stadium with the players, cheering my heart out, from start to finish, cannot be replaced.
"It wasn't a European heavyweight clash. It wasn't one of our greatest victories. But we won, and the match will hold a special place in my heart forever.
"On a regular matchday, around 30 to 40 Liverpool supporters would turn up to watch the game.
"On a derby day or a clash against United up to 100 Kosovo Reds come out to sing and drink together. For a medium-sized town with 300,000 people, the massive following Liverpool has here is quite astonishing.
"Back in 2008-09, during most of the matches, around 50 fans gathered at the city's square and marched through Prishtina's streets, singing. People knew that every time they hear a football chant through the streets, theymust be from Liverpool fans.
"A few months ago, I remember overhearing two people at the bar, discussing Liverpool's popularity.
"One of them was wondering why, despite the lack of trophies and titles over the recent years, Liverpool still have a massive following worldwide. Despite not winning the league in 23 years, how do the club still manage to maintain a loyal fanbase?
"That's not what we're all about, though. Of course, we'd love to lift titles but win, lose or draw, it's Liverpool Football Club we choose. It is Liverpool Football Club that brings us together, not the accolades."