Fans all over the world are faced with many more weeks yet without football, but it should all add to a sense of excitement once we restart.
The big issue right now for the most impatient of souls out there is the sense of the unknown: there’s absolutely no way to know precisely when we’ll be able to watch live football once more.
Three weeks was the first postponement, then until the end of April.
It’s likely to go on for some time after that, as the most important aspects of fighting the spread of the coronavirus are dealt with and brought under control.
As far as the Premier League goes, it’s Liverpool fans who might feel most frustrated about events: just six points shy of a first top-flight title in 30 years, miles clear of the rest of the league and, statistically speaking, more chance of a meteorite hitting earth than Man City catching us up.
Apparently a generational, global disease pandemic was more likely than both.
But if patience is shown, social health measures are observed and the right decisions are made, we’ll get there in the end.
With that in mind, here are 10 things we can look forward to once we get the go-ahead for teams to resume training and playing matches.
Match buildup routine
Remember those weekend days when you’d get up, do your thing and watch the match? Maybe even many matches? It was great.
Maybe you were the sort to have a massive breakfast, read the papers and settle into your favourite chair with the remote. Or perhaps the type to visit your favourite chippy on the way to the ground, meet some mates and take your seat behind the goal.
There are probably some out there still performing their own variation of 1998: in lieu of no teletext, watching the scores scroll in on the vidiprinter or a live results app.
Might as well admit it here: this writer’s involved at least a couple of hours of mapping out the weekend schedule, noting the games and players to watch, planning or pitching articles, working out which times the live commentaries needed starting at.
It was called work, but it sure didn’t feel like it.
Whichever routine was yours it was a comfortable, familiar, enjoyable buildup, knowing you were about to see the match unfold, a new story take place.
Live football: there’s very little like it, and what came before the whistle went was as much part of the day as the game itself.
Alisson back in action
One incidental positive knock-on effect of games being halted is that players currently sidelined through injury have extra time to get themselves fit without missing fixtures.
For the Reds, that means Alisson, No. 1 goalkeeper and all-round superman, should be able to fully recover and play a role through to the end of the campaign.
He was due to miss a whole host of games including a third Merseyside derby of the season, so a return to availability will be a boost.
Football’s place in normality
It’s worth pointing out that while the world wants to get back to everyday life as soon as it is safe to do so, a big part of that for a large number of people involves football.
Sometimes it’s watching games with friends or family, for others it’s taking part in local matches at the weekend or taking the kids to the park for a kickabout.
Whatever the usual approach is, football brings enjoyment, enrichment and a certain structure to peoples’ lives.
That aspect is just one of the many steps we’ll be able to take at some point soon.
Creative previews and irrelevant form guides
You know that phrase, ‘the form book goes out the window’…yeah, think that will apply to games 30 through 38, not just for the derby.
It could be weeks and months for players without action, so when we do finally restart there can be no real complaints at any lack of tempo, consistency and sharpness for any player or team.
Also, there’s nothing to look back on in terms of tactical approaches, returning from injury, manager quotes after the last game…nothing will be relevant.
Get creative, preview writers!
Ok, it’s a million miles away from the most important parts of football, but it’s still a piece of enjoyment and routine for some.
Whether it’s sitting smugly at home as your triple-captained player bangs in a hat-trick or the last-minute scramble to make changes before the deadline, fantasy football has become a big thing for many fans—especially those in work or friends leagues.
Rumours, gossip and transfer speculation
This might be one which we get during the enforced break, but the clarification of rumours and following up on initial interest will probably come later on.
Since nobody knows the state of play regarding European qualification, winning or losing league titles and even the transfer window itself yet, expect the rumours to really crank into gear after football returns.
Imagine waking up one morning to Pearce, Joyce, Reddy et al confirming your favourite non-LFC attacker is en route to Merseyside for a medical.
It’ll mean they can get close enough to another human to actually be checked!
That all-important kickoff
Bring. It. On.
That’s all we can say here. We long for all the above: the buildup, the planning, the talking about actual action again.
But it’s the Reds getting underway which will help metaphorically wash away all of what came before.
Two wins and a title
Of course, kickoff is only symbolic—what we all really want is the tangible reward of winning a game. Or, more specifically, from winning two.
It has been 30 years in the making and even after we finally overcame every obstacle the football world could throw at us, the natural world had one more hurdle.
Resume the season, get two victories…and all the waiting will be proven worthwhile.
Move to Kirkby
After the season is done, after we’ve lifted a trophy, there’s still more to come—that’s the everlasting beauty of the football world.
Liverpool have plans already in place for the summer and beyond, starting with a switch in training location.
Work at the Kirkby academy is likely to be affected by construction industry stoppages, but sooner or later it will be finished and the senior setup will move to the improved, expanded complex.
It should benefit Klopp’s squad and it will definitely benefit those coming through the ranks.
Starting the season as Premier League champions
And, finally, looking even further ahead: it will be Liverpool Football Club who get to start 2020/21, and play out the entire season, as reigning Premier League champions.
The images, the montages, the videos, the banners, the adverts—all of it will feature Hendo, Firmino, Van Dijk, Alisson and all the rest of your favourites, for the first time in the modern era.
Bring back our football!