Worth seeing the pictures: http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/news/latest-news/ten-things-lfc-learned-in-korea
Ian Rush and a team of Liverpool FC coaches will fly home to England from Korea on Friday lunchtime after a very successful three-day football clinic in Seoul.
The event, organised by Standard Chartered, saw over 220 children - including 20 visually impaired kids - receive specialised coaching - the 'Liverpool way'. For Rush, the eight coaches and a crew from LFC TV, it was a hectic schedule trying to pack so much into just three whole days but the entire experience was fantastic. Here are 10 things we learnt while we were in Korea...
1. Liverpool's Istanbul comeback captured the imagination of Korean football fans
Chan Jun Park, Journalist, www.sportchosun.com
: "The 2005 Champions League final was incredible and it won Liverpool lots of new fans in our country. The game had everything you could ever want in a football match and the spirit the Liverpool players showed, particularly Steven Gerrard, was something that the people of Korea could identify with. If you know anything about our history as a nation, you'll know that we have suffered many troubles and challenges in our history but we never let them defeat us. Koreans don't know the meaning of giving up, no matter how lost a cause seems, and what Liverpool did that night, coming back from 3-nil down and refusing to be beaten, was something the people of Korea could identify with. They never lost confidence, they never gave up. It was the same when we were losing 4-1 to Argentina in the World Cup, our players never gave up."
2. Steven Gerrard is Liverpool's most famous player in Korea
Oe-Tae Son, Football Psychologist, Dr Son Soccer Academy: "Steven Gerrard is a superstar in Korea and is probably one of the most famous foreign players. He is the perfect role model for Korean children because he has good manners and performs to such a high standard every week. He is like the perfect footballer because of the way he plays - he can score every type of goal and tackle and pass better than nearly every player in the world. I'm a football psychologist and I take great interest in the mindset of the players and Steven Gerrard is very strong mentally. He doesn't give in or give up easily and that was evident when he led Liverpool's amazing comeback to win the Champions League final in 2005. In Korea, we watched what he did that night and it left a lasting impression on us. I work with the Korean national team and I tell people that Steven Gerrard's mindset is what makes the difference to his game as he's able to recover far faster from any negative setback and react in a more effective way from a challenging situation."
Hong Chul Jang, Supporter: "I really love Steven Gerrard. He is very passionate and energetic on the pitch. I like Pepe Reina and Daniel Agger as well but Gerrard is my favourite. He is very strong and is the heartbeat of Liverpool. In Korea, everyone knows who Steven Gerrard is and lots of fans of other teams really like him as well. I really hope he recovers from his injury in time for the summer tour because I really want to meet him. It would be a dream come true for me to see him in real life and meet him. "
3. Football fans in Korea can't talk about the 2002 World Cup without breaking out in huge smiles
Richard Hill, CEO, Standard Chartered Korea: "That summer was just unbelievable. The simple fact that the World Cup was being held in Korea was amazing in itself but for the team to do as well as they did was the greatest feeling ever for the people here. Lots of fans thought the team would probably get knocked out in the first round so to reach the semi-final and do it in the style they did, was fairytale stuff. Millions of people went out into the streets all dressed in red to watch every game together and the atmosphere with everyone celebrating together was amazing."
Chan Jun Park, Journalist, www.sportchosun.com
: "It was so memorable. I still miss that feeling today. When I am together with my friends, even now, we still talk about that summer and how we felt then. I'm 30 years old and that summer was the best memory of my life."
4. Korean players aren't just technically gifted; they're also very strong and disciplined
Ian Rush, Liverpool FC Ambassador: "This is the third football clinic that I've done with Standard Chartered and this was the best standard of football I've seen from the kids. As soon as we saw them kicking the balls about on their own, we could see they looked pretty skilful. I think Korean players have a reputation for being very technically gifted but the thing that struck me the most was their discipline and their attitude. Someone told me as a country Korea is very disciplined with all the men serving up to two years of military service and you could see straight away that the kids were all paying attention when the coaches spoke to them."
Anthony Godfrey, Liverpool FC Coach: "The thing that surprised me the most was the size of the kids and how strong they seemed. Quite a few of them were very tall for their age and probably even a bit taller than some of the kids back home. We expected them to be skilful but they were very hardworking as well. They also picked up what we were telling them really quickly. We all had interpreters because none of them could speak English but to be honest, we didn't really need much translating because the kids could understood the instructions straight away. Out of all the kids we coached, I'd say a couple of them would be up there with some of the better players we have back in Liverpool. One little lad with really bright hair was very, very good. I think his dad used to play for the national team so it's no wonder he was impressive. "
5. Barcelona are not very popular in Korea
Chan Jun Park, Journalist, www.sportchosun.com
: "Everyone was very excited about Barcelona coming to Korea but the whole thing turned into a disaster and now you won't find many football fans who would admit to supporting Barcelona in this country. When Spain won the World Cup last summer, everyone here was really excited because lots of them played for Barcelona and we would get to see them play in our country but Barcelona didn't bring the Spanish players with them. They turned up in Korea with their reserve squad and then they said that Messi wasn't going to play even though most fans had only bought tickets for the match because of him. When they said he wasn't going to play, everyone was asking for refunds. In the end, they backed down but they still only played him for 15 minutes which was an insult. It didn't help that he also said he didn't know what country he was in or when one of their other players got us mixed up with the North Korean national team."
6. Manchester United have got more fans than Liverpool in Korea. At the moment!
Dong-Jun Lee, Football Coach, FC Praise U-11 (Goyang): "I used to support Liverpool because I really liked Fernando Torres but when he left to join Chelsea, I decided to support Manchester United because of Ji-Sung Park. He is a superstar in Korea, everyone loves him and a lot of fans support Manchester United because he plays for them. If he played for a different club like Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester City, then I think a lot of fans would support that team. I can only speak for myself but if Park Ji-Sung moved to Liverpool, then I would just switch teams from Manchester United to Liverpool overnight."
Myung-bo Hong, K-League legend and now Olympic national team coach: "Liverpool Football Club are really famous in Korea and have a lot of supporters. Only Manchester United have more fans than Liverpool in Korea and that's because of Ji-Sung Park but Liverpool are very, very popular and that's without a Korean player in their team. Football fans are really looking forward to Liverpool's first team coming over to play in Korea in the summer. It's very exciting to think that we will be able to see players like Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher in our country very soon. In fact, to meet a living legend like Ian Rush this week is an honour and it was great to talk to him. I know he has been to Korea before and I hope he comes back again because I would like to get to know him as I have a lot of respect for him."
7. More than anything else, the community element of Liverpool's visit was appreciated the most
Min-Gyu Kim, Journalist, JES Ilgan Sports: "Other teams like Manchester United and Barcelona have held football clinics in Korea before but they were designed for all kids. This is the first time I've seen a football club come here and do something specifically for blind children. I think Liverpool deserve a lot of credit for that because these children are so happy to have this opportunity to be coached by such a famous English club. Clubs in Korea aren't really able to do this sort of thing so it's great to see Liverpool doing it."
Scott Fowler, LFC Community Coach: "We could see how much it meant to the children by the looks on their faces. Everyone was really enthusiastic and seemed to be enjoying it. We do events like this every night back in Liverpool with people of all ages and abilities and I think the people who participate appreciate the fact that the coaching is coming directly from Liverpool Football Club. In Liverpool we have a Respect 4 All Centre that was set up to give children who'd never had the chance to play football access to an environment where they could play and have fun. We have a saying in our department that everyone is equal - regardless of ability - and I think things like this event in Seoul also proves that we're more than a football club who's only interested in winning or finding the next Steven Gerrard."
8. Not everyone in Korea is happy that Liverpool are coming in the summer
Min-Gyu Kim, Journalist, JES Ilgan Sports: "Liverpool coming to Korea could be good for the K-League as it is still under-developed compared to the English Premier League but the fact that one of the games may need to be rescheduled to accommodate the friendly has upset some K-League fans. They ask how Liverpool would like it if you had to cancel a game so another team can play a friendly. To me though, the bigger question being asked by supporters here is will the Liverpool tour be the same as what happened with Barcelona or Manchester United, both of which were not good. Fans are worried about whether Liverpool will bring all the first team players over or will it be like Barcelona, who left all their Spanish internationals at home? Will it be like the situation with Messi only playing 15 minutes? Liverpool have a large fan base in Korea but they need to remember that Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher are the two most popular players and Korean fans will feel insulted if they don't play. Barcelona's whole approach to their game last summer insulted the Korean people. They also cancelled press conferences at the last minute and not just once either. You have to remember that us journalists are the people who relay the message of the teams to the fans. We represent the Korean people and the fact that they refused to do press conferences was seen as a snub to the fans. Why wouldn't they communicate with the fans? The whole experience left a very negative impression of Barcelona in the eyes of the fans and media who think they only came to Korea to try and make money. It is because of Barcelona and Manchester United's friendly that fans are worried about Liverpool's visit but I still think this summer can be a win-win situation for both the Korean fans and Liverpool. If Liverpool treat the Korean fans with respect then the friendly game will be well received by the majority of supporters."
9. Baseball, not football, is the most popular sport in Korea
Jung Nam Kim, Vice President, K-League: "Baseball is the No.1 sport in Korea but football is definitely catching up. With sport, it's easy to split the people into two distinct categories: those who watch and those who play. Baseball has the most people watching it but there's far more people playing football now in Korea. I think we are not that far away from a time when football takes over as it's got far greater international appeal - the 2002 World Cup taught us that. The national team has always been very popular but after 2002, the whole country went crazy for football. Last season we had 2.8m fans attend games in the K-League which is fantastic."
10. Korean hospitality is absolutely amazing
Ian Rush, Liverpool FC Ambassador: "The way we have been treated since the moment we arrived in Korea has been unbelievable. Everyone has been so friendly to us. Nothing has been too much trouble for anyone and I think we all appreciate that. I travel all over the world with Liverpool Football Club but I've really enjoyed my time here. I first came to Korea in 2002 and I'll definitely come back."
Ben Parsonage, Liverpool FC Coach: "All the staff from Standard Chartered have looked after us amazingly well. On one night we were taken out to a traditional Korean restaurant by Richard Hill, the CEO of Standard Chartered in Korea, and it was a really interesting experience. The food was cooked in little barbecues on the table and we all had to take our shoes off before entering the room but the thing that surprised us the most was the atmosphere there. It was like a party with all the staff standing up on their seats and pouring each other drinks with two hands and chanting things! You weren't allowed to pour your own drink at all. You poured one for someone and they immediately poured one back for you. Everyone was having loads of fun and really enjoying themselves. We all ended up in this cool Karaoke bar with everyone getting up and singing Beatles and Johnny Cash songs. I don't think anyone was expecting the CEO of this big bank to get up first and start the singing off but he did and full credit to him. I think they work hard and party hard over here. All the coaches and the lads from LFC TV were on the stage at the end singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone'! I think the other people in the bar loved it!"