It's five o'clock in the morning and I can't get Lilly Allen's song with the same opening line out of my head.

I've been awake for over an hour as my body clock refuses to adjust to Eastern Seaboard Time despite it being over 12 hours since we landed at Logan International Airport.

Back home in Liverpool, it's 10am and for the fans travelling to the Emirates Stadium, the coaches are already making good headway down the M6. A tweet from a journalist already in the capital informs me that the sun is shining over north London. Outside my hotel room window - looking out over the grey docks of downtown Boston and, to the left, the city's very own World Trade Centre - it's pouring down with rain.

Later today the Red Sox will be hoping to build on yesterday's much-needed 4-1 win against the Toronto Blue Jays. Now, I'm the last person who'd ever claim to really understand baseball, but even with my limited knowledge of the sport, I think it's safe to say that the Red Sox's start to the season has probably not exactly gone to plan.

Six straight defeats in the opening six games is evidently not as catastrophic a start as it would be in football - when your season lasts 162 games, the analogy someone presented last night of it being like three minutes into a football match makes perfect sense. Still, six straight defeats is six straight defeats, no matter how you try to spin it.

There's been a slight upturn in fortunes since then - two wins over their great rivals (and one-time partners of Manchester United) the New York Yankees, coupled with yesterday's victory, leaves them with three wins from the first 10 games and something tangible to build from this afternoon.

That's all to come later today - they'll eventually run out 8-1 winners on the day - but right now I'm in a cab heading over the Charles River which separates Boston from nearby Cambridge, my destination on this cold, wet April morning. Housed in amongst second-hand record shops and non-descript liquor stores, Phoenix Landing, at 512 Massachusetts Avenue, looks, from the outside at least, no different to any of the other bars in an area populated by Harvard and MIT students. 

Inside, however, it's a different story, with two framed signed Liverpool shirts adorning the wall by the entrance, scarves hanging from the ceiling and more Anfield paraphernalia taking pride of place behind the bar. Welcome to the home of Liverpool Football Club supporters in New England; a place where the supporters from Boston, Cambridge and other nearby areas congregate at unsociable hours of the morning to cheer on their favourite English team.


It's ten o'clock in the morning and Phoenix Landing is already filling up. By 11, it will be packed, with standing room only on offer to those fans who've cut it fine for today's showpiece live game from the English Premier League. For every five Liverpool shirts - bearing the names of Carroll, Kuyt, Dalglish and Gerrard, especially Gerrard, on the back - there's a solitary Arsenal shirt in attendance. It would be the same ratio no matter who the opposition were, I'm told.

Click on the image below for Phoenix Landing photos

It's probably fair to say that it's still early days for 'soccer' in a region that has long been dominated by baseball and to a lesser extent basketball (Boston Celtics), football (New England Patriots) and ice hockey (Boston Bruins) but if any Premier League team can capture the imagination of the public here, it's likely to be Liverpool.

Stood near the bar, eyes fixed intently on the screen attached to the wall, Rohit Verma cheers as John Flanagan makes his presence felt on the field with another robust challenge that is becoming something of a trademark for the teenager.

Verma, originally from the UK, has been in Boston for eight months now; studying for a research project at nearby Harvard Medical School. He comes here to watch all the Liverpool games. "This is late for us," he says of the kick-off time. "If it's a four o'clock Sky game back home, that's 11 o'clock in the morning here. I was here for the Manchester United game a few weeks ago and we were queuing outside to get in at 7.15am. The doors were locked at 8am and if you weren't in then, you weren't getting in at all. That was an unbelievable day; it felt like being on the Kop."

It's not always like that though, he admits. "An 8pm game on a Monday in England is 3pm over here on a work day and a game against someone like Bolton is never going to draw as big a crowd as a match against Arsenal or United. Most of us are here to see Liverpool though, so it doesn't really matter who the opposition are and Boston as a city is also a lot like Liverpool, which I think is part of the appeal. Boston is quite a transient city, with all the students and lots of young professionals passing through, but it's also got a very passionate local population who take a massive amount of pride in coming from this area. New York grabs all the headlines so Bostonians have got this underdog thing going on - a bit like in Liverpool. And then there's the obvious Irish connection, which both cities share."

Another thing fans on both sides of the Atlantic share today is a renewed sense of optimism about what the future holds for Liverpool Football Club. I might have travelled a long way to Boston this weekend, but it's nowhere near as far as the Club has traveled since the last time we locked horns with the Gunners.

Back in August, when Liverpool opened the season against Arsenal, it was billed as the start of a new era for the Club; a new manager, a new sponsor, a new kit, a host of new players and, supposedly, new hope.

The problem was, we had the same old owners. What actually transpired was the beginning of the end of possibly the most turbulent, unsavoury and fractured three years in the Club's long history. Throwing away an opening day victory right at the death against Arsenal was actually the least of our problems back on that warm August day. Under the ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, the Club was divided from top to bottom and it was talk of fan boycotts, protests and debt repayments that dominated conversations all around Anfield that day. The new manager, employed to return Liverpool to winning ways, was talking as if he was still Fulham boss and the team were returning from places like Birmingham with Roy Hodgson openly admitting he never expected us to win there anyway. This was not the talk of a Liverpool manager and embarrassing defeats against the likes of Stoke, Blackpool, Blackburn and Northampton was not what we'd come to expect from a team wearing the famous red shirt. The defeats the fans could just about take; it was the blatant lowering of expectations which was far more of an issue. As August rolled into September and September gave way to October, Liverpool appeared to be a football club on the brink of imploding.

Fast forward eight months from that opening day fixture against Arsenal and while the opposition is the same, Liverpool Football Club couldn't be more different. Fernando Torres is now someone else's No.9 and Roy Hodgson is back trying to stave off relegation with another club. The Kop has two new heroes on the pitch and an old one back in the dugout. John Flanagan, a local kid from Childwall, is living the dream of the Liverpool fans out there on the Emirates pitch while Jack Robinson, another Academy graduate, is sharing a joke with his manager on the touchline seconds before entering the action. Liverpool may be undergoing something of a mini-injury crisis with captain Steven Gerrard the most high profile casualty but no one is feeling down right now. Yesterday, a free-flowing, high scoring Academy side thrashed Manchester United 6-nil and all the talk is of who could be next to follow Flanagan and Robinson into the first team. Ian Ayre, the supporter who grew up a few miles from Anfield and followed the team home and away as a teenager, has just been appointed the Club's Managing Director and for the first time since 2005, there's harmony in the boardroom. There's no politics, no whispers, no leaks, no infighting and no splits amongst the fan base, the staff or the players. There's no protests, no boycotts, no debt repayments, no threat of relegation, however small, and no talk of our best players leaving.

What there is now though is hope and the man responsible for kick-starting the resurrection of Liverpool Football Club is sat in a baseball stadium less than 20 minutes away from the Phoenix Landing bar. It was here in Boston last year that John W Henry first heard about Liverpool's predicament and started asking questions about what could be possible. Mention his name around here and people talk about him with awe; about how he completely transformed the oldest ballpark in American sport, put to bed 'the Curse of the Bambino' and, in 2004, ended an 86-year wait to win the World Series with the Red Sox.

It's because of John Henry that I find myself in Boston this weekend; on a fact-finding and knowledge-sharing initiative between Liverpool Football Club, Boston Red Sox, New England Sports Network (NESN) and Fenway Sports Group. Staff from all areas of the businesses that fall under the ownership of FSG have been talking to one another and sharing ideas since the day the Club changed hands in October 2010 and this week, I'm here with the Head of Digital Media and Technology at LFC to see how they do things Stateside.

Both John Henry and Liverpool FC Chairman Tom Werner believe there is a lot LFC TV can learn from how NESN operate and with over 25 years of broadcasting heritage and just shy of 150 Red Sox games televised live every season on the network - not to mention live coverage of the Bruins hockey team as well as college football and basketball games - it makes perfect sense to try and gain as much understanding as we can from our American counterparts. In return, staff from LFC are also sharing their learning and expertise in their own departments with staff from across the water. The common thinking goes that as strong as we all are on our own, we're far stronger together. 

In fact, while the live TV rights in the UK for Liverpool are very different to those enjoyed in the States by the Red Sox, it was following conversations with Werner that live Reserve team football returned to LFC TV (after a period of being exclusive to online viewers) and also saw the introduction of live Academy league football to the channel - starting, rather nicely, with a six-nil win over Manchester United.


It's two o'clock in the afternoon and inside the Outside Broadcast truck, parked around the corner from the Red Sox players' jeeps, the match day show is due to start. Everyone is concentrating intently on their own particular roles but that doesn't stop more than a few questions being asked about Liverpool Football Club. It's a common theme over the four days we spend in Boston; everyone working for the Red Sox, NESN or FSG wants to know about Liverpool Football Club. In fact, more than that, everyone's excited about the possibility of what Liverpool could become again - with investment on and off the pitch. 

Comparisons are made all the time with the Red Sox team the owners took over back in 2002. Back then Fenway Park wasn't what it is now and the team was more famous for what it hadn't won than what it had. The Red Sox certainly had the history but, until Henry, Werner and Larry Lucchino came to town, that's all they had. Fenway Park was a stadium in disrepair - long since written off by the previous ownership, who had decided that a new-build was the order of the day.

The new-build never materialised and, instead, Fenway Park was completely transformed into a stadium fit for the 21st century while retaining all of its historic charm. To two first-time visitors from England, the whistle-stop tour of the packed ballpark on match day is impressive enough but when we return for a more intimate tour of the entire complex just after 8pm on Tuesday night, when only a few staff are still present, it's really drummed home to us how much this place has changed over the last nine years.

Paul Hanlon, Director of Ballpark Planning and Development at the Red Sox, is our personal guide and the passion with which he talks about the changes he's seen take place here is illuminating - from the 160 or so new 'dugout' seats introduced almost immediately after the takeover to the new, High Definition big screens introduced for the first time at Fenway earlier this month.

Hanlon's enthusiasm for his role at the Red Sox is typical of the staff we spend time with over the four days we're in Boston. Whether in meetings to discuss online content initiatives, TV programming, scheduling, staff recruitment, technology or advertising at NESN's base in Arsenal Street, Watertown or in discussions at Fenway Park about marketing, social media and online video with Red Sox Productions, a real sense of both ambition and pride in what the staff are doing here shines through. Everything appears possible. Nothing is out of reach. Nothing is too much trouble. There's a phrase used around the Red Sox that is relayed to us on a couple of separate occasions while we're here, it's supposedly Larry Lucchino's favourite saying, 'We're in the 'Yes' business'.

Click on the image below to see our Red Sox photos

Funnily enough, it's that word 'Yes' again that adorns the front page of a newspaper, hanging framed on the wall of one of the staff corridors inside Fenway Park. Written in big, bold capitals, it's a one-word celebration of that first World Series victory in 2004, just two years after the arrival of Henry, Werner and Lucchino. I imagine if, in the next couple of years, Liverpool were to end an over 20-year wait for that elusive Premier League title, it might also be a word screamed out in delight and accompanied by a clenched fist in the air not just back home on Merseyside but also amongst those fans who pack into the Phoenix Landing every weekend morning.

Kuyt getting title deja vu