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Joe Gomez on the Challenge and Uncertainty of Football in a Time of Coronavirus

The Liverpool defender isn’t certain how or when football will return, but he’s glad at least to be back training.

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Liverpool Players Continue Small Group Training Following Covid-19 Restrictions Being Relaxed Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Under normal circumstances, there isn’t much downtime in the life of a footballer. For the top players in particular, between club and country commitments, it’s rare to get any real time away from training and playing the game.

For many, then, spending two months isolated due to coronavirus was the longest they’ve spent away from that routine, ever, and that kind of open-ended, day-to-day uncertainty was a new and not entirely welcome experience.

“We’re so used to having a structured schedule,” Joe Gomez said, reflecting on the strange situation of the past few months with football having been put on hold. “At the start of the season you’re given your fixtures for the whole year.

“As individuals, we have to adapt and take it a day at a time, literally. But I don’t think that’s much different to the rest of the nation at the minute, everyone is in limbo and not sure what we’re headed towards or when it’s going to end.

“That’s probably been the biggest challenge in all of it, during the lockdown and so on, doing your sessions and not knowing when this is going to be coming to an end, just, ‘Today, I’ve got to do this’ and just getting through it.”

For Liverpool’s players—and for most around the league—that mindset is part of why they’ve been so eager to get back to training with teammates in some form. Still, even with a hoped-for mid-June return to action, there’s no real certainty.

England remain one of the hardest-hit countries by coronavirus, with the caseload higher compared to—and the tracking and tracing far behind—Germany, where the Bundesliga has returned to action behind closed doors in recent weeks.

Still, there does appear a widespread eagerness to get back to training and playing, and for the time being at least the target appears to be viable—after two months isolating, football in some form at least is working towards its return.

“It’s just about enjoying the moment I think and taking each session at a time,” Gomez added. “We’re blessed to be working under these circumstances, out on the pitch doing what we love. That’s enough to keep us going for now.”