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Forever Red: Liverpool's devoted NI faithful and that Premier League title wait

With Liverpool on the brink of what must be their strangest title win ever, Ivan Little finds out why the club inspires such loyalty among fans in Northern Ireland

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Fans with scarves aloft at Anfield

Fans with scarves aloft at Anfield

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Malcolm Hunter at last year’s Champions League final in Madrid

Malcolm Hunter at last year’s Champions League final in Madrid

Jim Magilton

Jim Magilton

Darren Clarke

Darren Clarke

Getty Images

Jason Smyth

Jason Smyth

Mo Salah (right) celebrates with Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson after scoring in a game last October

Mo Salah (right) celebrates with Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson after scoring in a game last October

Getty Images

Stephen Watson

Stephen Watson

colin murray

colin murray

Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson

AFP/Getty Images

Pete Snodden with Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk

Pete Snodden with Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk

Packy Lee with Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk

Packy Lee with Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk

Fans with scarves aloft at Anfield

Social distancing or no social distancing Liverpool fans in Northern Ireland will not be walking alone when their champions-in-waiting finally clinch their long-delayed title win as football comes home after the coronavirus shutdown.

But one Liverpool fan and former Anfield apprentice, Jim Magilton, will have mixed emotions as Jurgen Klopp's side are officially - and inevitably - crowned Premier League kingpins.

As well as joining thousands of Irish fans who'll celebrate the Merseysiders' victory, Jim will also be thinking about 96 fellow supporters who won't be able to join the party.