Premier League finale

Nervy wait as fans stand firm

Left: Liverpool fan Aaron Kok (right), a travel agency owner who regularly organises trips to Anfield, will be at the Reds' home ground for the 17th time tomorrow - for the final game of the season against Wolves. Below left: Manchester City fans are
Liverpool fan Aaron Kok (right), a travel agency owner who regularly organises trips to Anfield, will be at the Reds' home ground for the 17th time tomorrow - for the final game of the season against Wolves. PHOTO COURTESY OF AARON KOK, MANCHESTER CITY OFFICIAL SUPPORTERS CLUB SINGAPORE
Left: Liverpool fan Aaron Kok (right), a travel agency owner who regularly organises trips to Anfield, will be at the Reds' home ground for the 17th time tomorrow - for the final game of the season against Wolves. Below left: Manchester City fans are
Manchester City fans are largely confident that the English champions would successfully retain their title with a win at Brighton.PHOTO COURTESY OF AARON KOK, MANCHESTER CITY OFFICIAL SUPPORTERS CLUB SINGAPORE

Regardless of outcome, their teams exceeded expectations in eyes of City, Reds supporters

Aaron Kok has been to Anfield 16 times but the 17th time might be the most memorable of them all.

Or not.

The travel agency owner, who organises trips to Liverpool's home ground regularly, is bringing 45 other fellow fans for tomorrow's final game of the season against Wolves.

The group will join thousands of supporters on Merseyside hoping to will Liverpool to their first English top-flight title since 1990. They will also play Tottenham in the Champions League final on June 1.

Kok, who leaves Singapore today, said: "I have a few friends who are already there and they've said there's a very festive mood there because everyone has been buzzing from the Champions League win.

"It's a dream for every fan to visit Anfield, to be able to go to the ground and watch the team they support. It will be a crazy day and everyone will be enjoying themselves."

But the 42-year-old admitted that the title might be out of Liverpool's hands. He said: "As long as we try our best, if Manchester City win (against Brighton) it's not within our control. We've already done brilliantly this season."

Fellow Reds fan and estate planner S. Kavindran, 36, is also holding on to that dream.

"One thing about Liverpool, that's very different from other football clubs, is that the whole Anfield vibe is not just that of a football ground; it's a holy ground," he said.

HISTORY WON'T BE MADE

I just can't see Man City not winning. People will say miracles happen, Brighton have a chance. But they're not in the same class as the players who did what they did this week.

PAUL MERSON, former Arsenal midfielder and pundit, on the impossible task facing Brighton to replicate the comeback feats by Liverpool and Tottenham in the Champions League.

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HISTORY REMEMBERS ONLY WINNERS

It's all about winning. No one is going to say, 'Do you remember when we finished in the Champions League final and runners-up in the league?'. Show me your medal.

TIM SHERWOOD, who lifted the Premier League trophy as Blackburn Rovers' captain.

"In the last few games, we've been scoring late to win so I'm hopeful we'll be able to pull it off again.

"Even if we fall short, we have to give it to the team. The way that they played the whole season, none of the other teams gave City a fight like we did."

City fans here are largely optimistic that they will win at 17th-placed Brighton to secure back-to-back league titles.

Civil servant and Manchester City Singapore Supporters committee member Haizam Shah, 34, noted Brighton's improved form, 1-1 draws against Newcastle and Arsenal, but believes that the Citizens will not falter at the final hurdle.

He said: "Brighton are already safe from relegation, they have nothing to play for.

"But Liverpool are playing Wolves, who are doing quite well.

"I won't say Brighton are pushovers, but I'm confident in my team, that's for sure."

Jess Chen, who is self-employed, has been supporting the Citizens since 1995.

The 37-year-old said: "It's unbelievable seeing them transform from a team fighting relegation to where we are today. We're enjoying every moment and not taking anything for granted.

"Even if we don't win, we can't really blame anyone because the team have surpassed all expectations. They got maximum points since their last defeat (by Newcastle in January), so you really can't ask for more.

"They've had several challenging tests in the final period in terms of quality of opponents and pressure from Liverpool.

"The toughest part is already past them, so now it's just about crossing the line and finishing strong.''

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2019, with the headline 'Nervy wait as fans stand firm'. Print Edition | Subscribe