Every night before I sleep, I say a prayer. One for myself, one for my family, and one for Liverpool FC.
No, I’m not obsessed. The prayer is not just for the team. It’s for the fans, the love, and the passion that I see almost every day.
A few days ago, Liam Harker would have celebrated his 18th birthday.
Every true Liverpool supporter knows Liam. He put the Liverpool anthem YNWA (You'll Never Walk Alone), to a test.
The club he supported responded by proving it wasn’t just a slogan. It was an extended hand, a glimmer of truth. And it was a silent whisper loud enough to help a crippled man walk, to give a blind man faith, and a boy, whose life was about to be taken away from him, the strength to hold his head up high and "Walk on...".
Liam Harker, was 17 when he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Although after treatment, the doctor told him that he had beaten the cancer, it came back stronger and worse. He was told he had only two weeks to survive. Liam's final wish was to be buried in a Liverpool shirt, signed by all his favourite stars. When the word got around , Liam and his dad were given an offer to meet not only the players, but Rafael Benitez too. Being too ill, Liam couldn't make it to Liverpool, but got his shirt.
The news spread all over and touched the fans of Liverpool supporters from all over. They made banners that were to be put up on the day of the UEFA cup semi-finals, showing Liam, that he wasn't alone.
He passed away on 5th May, yet he remains stronger than ever in spirit.
A team isn’t made up of just players, and Liverpool proves that. The ever famous Kop, known as the 12th man, is almost as much part of the team as the great Steven Gerrard himself. We may not be there, but fans all over the world unite to show their support, whether it is a banner in a car in Italy, or the "You’ll Never Walk Alone" in my home all the way in India, the burning passion, the faith and the hope is what brings us together.
Why do I support Liverpool FC? When you hear about incidents like these, when you read about Liam Harker and so many other passionate supporters, how can you not feel a burst of pride?
I know that if I was in the same position as Liam, yes, the first thing I’d ask for is to be buried in a Liverpool shirt. No this is not talk, this is how I really feel. There’s nothing I’ve ever been more passionate about. Liverpool defines my life, it defines who I am.
The banners screaming Liam’s name, shining pride, the fans heads held up high that night against Chelsea overshadowed the disappointing outcome of the game. It’s not about one game, one season, one year. This is for eternity. We can suffer defeat on the field, but never in our hearts.
Football is one of the most popular sports, not just for what goes on the ground, the enthusiasm and fervour can convert even the extremists, and I know because I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
Girls who detest football getting caught up in the excitement, people who never cared about teams with tears in their eyes after the most overwhelming games. What more can I say?
Liam, I know, was there with the team when Babel led us to victory against United, and I could see Liam shining in Alonso’s eyes that night against Chelsea, and was it Liam’s miracle during that brilliant comeback against City?
Has he done his three miracles? Can we brand him our Saint? It’s not 12 men anymore (KOP included)—Liam Harker’s our 13th.
Liverpool are off to the best start in 12 years and I know, I just know, that if we win the league this year, everyone will agree with me, even if he hasn’t done it yet, that will be Liam’s third miracle and he can be our St. Liam.
We don’t need an official statement.
Someone who fights the odds, makes a difference and still shines on the world after leaving it...doesn’t that make a saint?
Is Liam already there? Is he a high leader in Kop heaven? Sitting next to Shankly? Do we just need to accept it? I don’t know...
But this is our season, yes it is and wherever Harker is, I know he’s smiling, singing "You’ll Never Walk Alone" and probably even saying "this is our season" too.
By God, I hope it is.