Liverpool FC: Writing About Football In A Pandemic And Other First World Problems
Hello friends, welcome to the new year.
I approached this blog post today, having taken an extended break through the holidays and with a couple unimpressive Liverpool matches to write about. How do you write a match review for two disappointing draws? Off the back of the excitement that was 2-1 against Tottenham and a late Bobby Firmino header? 0-7 away to Crystal Palace?
When the Women’s team haven’t played since the 20th, and lost that match to Durham.
To be honest, even as the leagues have come back through this pandemic, even as Liverpool allowed fans in the stands for a brief period (and for an even more brief period became one of the only teams to be able to do so), being a fan and being excited for these matches has been a struggle.
I can’t even imagine how the players feel, as the pandemic continues to move through the league itself, with other players making stupid choices like those at Manchester City.
It all feels a little… weirdly irrelevant. Watching the men’s team struggle through their injuries (which, thankfully, shouldn’t be as much of a problem anymore) and slog through teams that we should put away with ease. They’re tired, as they haven’t had a decent rest or pre-season (and no, the lockdown period from March to June doesn’t count as a decent rest).
How do you write about this stuff, when you live in the place with the most cases and deaths in the country - according to Johns Hopkins University.
I know that bringing back football was supposed to be for the “morale” of the country - a country that I don’t reside in, either. Maybe the pandemic has just made me more of a cynic, torn back the veil of good intentions to reveal the greedy underbelly of it all. As if it was a grand reveal, and not something I had had the privilege of choosing to ignore.
And personally, I feel as though I’ve spent the last six months of this blog complaining about things. About Liverpool and their inability to successfully integrate the men’s and women’s team under the one club umbrella. Whinging about the club in general. Even as it feels difficult to fully celebrate our historic championship title, in the way that we had all envisioned.
Where does that leave me, as a writer? Where does that leave anyone? I envy the writers and colleagues of mine that have been able to revel in the small victories and the large ones, to keep their perspectives and take their content day by day.
I think often about a couple of seasons ago, when things were harder and Liverpool were drawing a bit more, ended up just barely in fourth place. Even as we celebrated making it to the Champions League, a friend and I spoke briefly about how do you do it, how do you keep writing when so many of the results are the same, or so many of the performances are disappointing. When do you find new words for it, to express your disappointment?
Neither of us had an answer for it, really.
This season is far from that, as Liverpool have only lost one match and drawn just a few more than last season. The Men’s team currently sit top of the table, and had been since before Christmas - top of the table at Christmas for the third straight year. Even as the world feels increasingly dreadful, as it is a risk to merely step outside your door every day, and so much energy has to be put into simply protecting ourselves and our loved ones from this new virus.
The players and managers and staffs have to do that too, for their families, as they continue their own work. As they continue to travel in their pods, get into close proximity with other players.
Maybe even more than the writers that are able to keep working through this, I envy the people that are able to find a small escape in these matches. That are able to fully commit for 90 minutes, to look forward to that. I’ve been struggling with that for a while, and afraid to admit that I had been struggling with it, because I love this club so. I wouldn’t have started a blog partly centered on it if I didn’t. And that love didn’t fade, it has just been… overshadowed a bit, by everything else going on. Even saying that working to survive feels overdramatic and privileged.
Then 2021 has to be a little different. At least through the rest of the pandemic. #LiverpoolLunes might not be about the club in its entirety anymore, it might not even always be Liverpool posts. I don’t know. I might shift some fiction to Mondays because, let’s be honest, Del Cooper is a Liverpool fan fiction story.
There’s definitely going to be some kind of shifting happening in the future, and I’m still working out what that looks like. Thank you, whoever is reading this, for sticking with me while I figure it all out.