Football fever hits Liverpool ahead of Champions League final

The city of Liverpool is preparing for a weekend of football fever.

Houses in Merseyside have been adorned with flags ahead of the Champions League final in Madrid on Saturday, with cardboard cutouts of manager Jurgen Klopp and players such as Virgil van Dijk staring out of the windows of some Liverpool-supporting homes.

Red and white bunting is up on some streets, along with posters bearing the words “Allez Allez Allez”.

On the roads, cars and taxis have Liverpool flags flying from their windows and in the shops, T-shirts with the slogan “Never Give Up”, as worn by Mohamed Salah at the second leg of the semi-final, are for sale.

The phrase was also mown into grass near to Liverpool John Lennon Airport for the players to see from the air, the Liverpool Echo reported.

While many fans are making their way to Madrid by plane, train or car, thousands are expected to watch the match against Tottenham Hotspur at venues in the city on Saturday night.

Tickets to watch the match on big screens at the city’s M&S Bank Arena have sold out.

Among those hosting a Champions League final party is the Shankly Hotel, named after the team’s famous manager Bill Shankly and run by his grandson Christopher Shankly Carline, where 1,000 fans will watch the game live on a screen on the hotel’s rooftop.

Mr Carline said: “Within two hours of going on sale, we had sold out and the phones went into meltdown, with hundreds more fans on the waiting list.

“This is going to be one of the most exciting Champions League finals in the history of Champions League and I really think Liverpool can do this.”

Merseyside Police have appealed for people to stay safe as they expect a busy weekend in the city centre.

Superintendent Mark Wiggins said: “We are expecting large numbers of people to come into the city to watch the Champions League final at various venues throughout the city centre on Saturday night.

“We want people coming into Liverpool city centre to enjoy themselves and our message to people coming into the city is take some simple steps: keep your bags fastened and phones hidden, stay together and drink responsibly.

“If you’re coming into the city on Saturday night to have a few drinks and watch the game, make it a night to remember, not a night to forget.”

If the Reds claim victory, the festivities will continue into Sunday, with an open-top bus parade potentially planned in the city.