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Liverpool football fans boo national anthem at Carabao Cup final

Liverpool supporters booing the national anthem at Wembley
Liverpool supporters protested during the national anthem - Robbie Jay Barratt/Getty Images

Liverpool football supporters loudly booed the national anthem before Sunday’s cup final at Wembley.

Supporters of the Merseyside club have a tradition of disrespecting ‘God Save the King’, dating back to the 1980s when it was widely believed that the city of Liverpool had been abandoned by the British establishment. Those feelings were hardened by the reaction to the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989.

In reaction to Liverpool’s jeers at Wembley, Chelsea supporters appeared to sing the anthem with greater gusto than usual.

The practice of booing the anthem became highly controversial in 2022, when Liverpool fans behaved the same way before the FA Cup final. On that occasion Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, defended their right to do so, describing the club’s supporters as “wonderful people” who “wouldn’t do it unless there’s a reason for it”.

Klopp said: “Not everything is better than in the past, but thank God we have the freedom of free speech and freedom of opinion.

“It was clear something like this would happen, everybody knew it. That is fine, nothing else happened, there were no chants.

“The people showed, I don’t exactly know what it was, but they weren’t always happy in the past with the way Liverpool, the club and the city, were dealt with. That is it.”

Although the national anthem is not usually played before Premier League matches, Liverpool did use the music before a match against Brentford last year, to mark the coronation of King Charles. The anthem was loudly booed on that occasion too.

Liverpool opted to play the anthem despite admitting that ‘some supporters have strong views’ on the subject.

“The Premier League had advised clubs to play ‘God Save the King’ before kick-off, but did not make it compulsory,” they said in a statement at the time.

“It is, of course, a personal choice how those at Anfield on Saturday mark this occasion and we know some supporters have strong views on it.”

The jeering of the words to “God Save the King” on Sunday has added poignancy after the news that King Charles has cancer.

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