I’VE been writing a regular Thursday column for TAW for a few months now. Because Robbo needs the piece early enough to give it the once over and I like to give myself enough time to re-write bits if need be, I tend to write it on a Wednesday.
This week that means that I’m sat in front of my computer just a couple of hours after Donald Trump was declared to be the President Elect. I’ve only had about two hours sleep and even that was fitful. Perhaps now isn’t the best time to sit down and try to write something coherent about Liverpool.
At a time when America has voted to turn its back on hope and togetherness in favour of lies, racism, sexism and darkness – just months after the UK decided to do something along similar lines – I don’t know how to think about anything but the future; something that looks pretty bleak just at this moment.
But then the phrase ‘Football is the most important of the least important things in life’ keeps popping into my head. Most commonly attributed to Carlo Ancelotti, it’s a saying that has real resonance for me. At times I marvel at the absolute ridiculousness of football. It’s 22 men kicking a ball around on some grass, how does it have the emotional pull over us that it does?
Yet most of the time I completely agree with the sentiment. Football isn’t as important as death or love or family, yet it matters so very much to so many people. It makes me angry, sad, relieved, hopeful, stressed, ecstatic and so many things between. I’m quite sure it does the same for you.
At times like this I think we need football more than ever. That Liverpool are the best team in the country right now certainly helps with that.
We’re in the middle of an international break right now – in more ways than one – yet I am counting down the hours until I get to see the Reds play again. It’s the main thing that’s giving me hope just at the minute. Sadio Mané, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge. These names are my salvation.
Watching Liverpool play football won’t stop a misogynistic, racist demagogue from being posed to take control of the White House. It won’t prevent likely aggression from Russia and China in the coming months. It won’t suddenly mean that the UK will reverse its position on leaving the European Union at a time when presenting a united front to the world is more important than ever.
Yet for 90 minutes it allows you to forget about all of that. The only thing that matters is the three points. Our three points that the other team has got and we need to take back. The only aggression I want to see isn’t political, it’s from the lads in Red swarming around the opposition before pummelling them into submission.
When Liverpool play I can forget about my fears of the real world and laugh at the outrageousness of Firmino and Coutinho. I can watch Jürgen Klopp intently and marvel at his never-ending desire to succeed, hoping that he breaks another pair of glasses because that means the Reds are rampant.
It’s why I can’t be bothered with being cautious about embracing Liverpool’s on-field success. The line that ‘you don’t win anything in November’ is as boring as it is factually incorrect – you win football matches. ‘Manchester City have a stronger team’. So what? Donald Trump has literally no qualifications to be President, yet here we are. What’s your point?
I’m determined to soak every bit of joy I can from Liverpool matches at the moment because that’s what life should be about. There’s seriousness all over the place if you want it. You can hand-wring and moralise until the cows come home about all sorts of things in life right now.
I don’t want my football to become boring. I don’t want to obsess over a single goal conceded when we’ve scored six. What’s the point? Where’s the fun in that?
Football is the most important of the least important things in life, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a laugh. Liverpool are poetry in motion; the best team in the land. Wherever we end up this season let’s all start enjoying the journey as much as possible. At some point we’ll have no more tomorrows so we need to live today to the full.
With hope in your heart.