I have felt elation and frustration in equal measure since Liverpool finally crossed the line and became Premier League champions. The elation comes with the fact Liverpool are currently the Champions League, World Club Cup, Super Cup and Premier League champions. With a list like that it's hard to argue that, at this moment in time, Liverpool must be considered the best in their field. More than that, though, Liverpool have the strongest first eleven that I can remember and while it can be suggested we could possibly improve squad depth here and there our best starting eleven is as good as any in world football. What makes winning these titles even more satisfying is that all the players appear to be sound individuals that genuinely deserve what they've earned. Throughout the squad is a healthy mix of ambition and humility, something of course that comes straight from the manager's ethos. Speaking of the manager, there are currently few that can compete with Klopp and I don't think even he can quite believe what he's achieved since he arrived. This is definately one of those moments where you have to appreciate what we have at Liverpool because it's going to be hard for things to get better.
Unfortunately, there is frustration too. I should probably explain why I am particularly angry about recent events: for the duration of the Covid-19 lockdown my father has been receiving treatment for cancer in his throat. This has required him going to and from hospitals while he is immunosuppressed, an absolute nightmare when you know a potentially lethal virus is waiting around every corner. Social distancing, sterilising, rubber gloves and face masks have not just been necessary but vital. We were recently told after a scan the treatment had worked on my father's throat and there was no sign of the tumour. Unfortunately, the same scan also revealed the start of three small tumours in my father's stomach and his only option left is to begin a very specialised form of treatment that cures three in every ten patients. We are currently preparing for this.
You may ask what this has to do with Liverpool Football Club? Jurgen Klopp asked supporters not to congregate outside Anfield should Liverpool win the title, a request that was ignored by thousands. I can promise you while those without self-restraint were squeezed together, inebriated and high on victory outside the Shankly Gates, those Red supporters working for the NHS, those Red supporters who'd lost loved ones to Covid, and those Red supporters who still have relatives in hospital were seething. People were asked not to congergate for a specific reason - it's the only way we can get the levels of Covid low enough so normal life can resume, so people like me can move their father around for essential treatment without the worry every journey is a death sentence. One thing those present at Anfield didn't consider was that if their actions have contributed to a so-called 'Second Wave' it is likely to occur in October or November, at the beginning of the new football season. We could well have to go through the same tedious procedures we have this season which may include playing behind closed doors again.
To illustrate quite how stupid it was to congregate at Anfield consider this scenario: a young man with a wife and a baby at home pops down to Anfield to celebrate the title, he gets drunk, social distancing goes out of the window and he makes contact with tens of people he hasn't met before. He goes home and when he wakes up he kisses his wife before bathing, dressing and feeding his baby. There is nothing unusual about this scenario but if you add into the equation that one of the people the young man made contact with was carrying Covid but was asymptomatic, he wasn't displaying any symptoms, then the situation becomes more worrying as the young man may have exposed his wife and child to a potentially lethal virus. A thirteen day old baby is the youngest person to have died of Covid in the UK.
I've read all the excuses from those who attended Anfield and those who supported them doing so:
'Yeah, but we'd waited 30 years to celebrate the title!' - Well, I'm sure the virus was aware of that and took the evening off just for you.
'We saw people protesting and people on the beaches, why aren't you making a fuss about them?' - They were all over the front pages too, I believe. People put themselves at risk in ALL these situations, none of them were acceptable. At least the peope on the protests made an attempt to wear masks, unlike those at Anfield. The argument that one group did something self-harmful so it's ok for you to is so nonsensical, it's an excuse that belongs in the playground.
'The government said you can do what you want now.' - There are still very strict rules in place but people are choosing to ignore them because a) the goverment's messaging all the way through the pandemic has been very poor, or b) Dominic Cummings and the Tory cabinet are a bunch of hypocrites. Even though this may be true it is pointless shooting yourself in the foot because other people haven't done their jobs properly.
The fact people congregated the next night at Pier Head in Liverpool, where all kinds of misdemeanours went on, just compounds the issue. No-one had reflected on the previous night's antics and ultimately the whole LFC fanbase will be tarred with the same brush. I'm annoyed because of the potential health implications but I'm also annoyed that the limelight has been taken off those who deserve it most, the manager, his staff and the team.