We all hoped that 2021 would be better than 2020. Last year at this time, we were starting to see the roll out of a new vaccine that had the potential to stop this horrible, deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
And yet, because of an all-too-predictable combination of greed, selfishness, and stupidity, 2021 was not better than 2020. Indeed, it was even deadlier.
As of this writing, over 5.3 million people have died because of COVID-19, and many—if not most—of those deaths were preventable, if governments had released the vaccine patents, if corporations had looked beyond the simple bottom line, if people took the vaccine, when available, if people hadn’t willfully spread misinformation, and if others hadn’t believed them.
As the newest variant runs rampant through society, and even the most steadfast among us are too exhausted and lonely to continue our vigilance. It’s easy to give up hope.
Thankfully, we have a manager in Jurgen Klopp who knows how to motivate Liverpool supporters just as much as his players. And we all need an uplifting message right now, staring down the barrel of another year of pandemic life.
“One year ago when I wrote this letter,” Kloppo began in his Christmas letter to the fans, “I spoke about the impact the pandemic had on all of our lives, both as professionals but more importantly as human beings.
“Twelve months later, it continues to have a huge effect on us all, but we should also recognize that lots of positive steps have been taken in 2021 towards what we hope will be a brighter future for everyone.
“Again, this last year has taught us the greatest lesson possible about the things that matter most in life and how important it is to be grateful for them.
“As I write today, we are again gripped by the latest ‘wave’ of the pandemic and nobody can predict what will happen in the coming weeks, months or even days, but one thing is clear for me – we’re stronger if we face it together.”
In this message, Klopp shows his inherent socialism and why he’s such a good fit for the club. Some issues—a global pandemic and climate change both immediately come to mind—must be tackled collectively. Radical individualism and late-stage capitalism simply has no answers to such existential threats.
Although football is life, it is—as Klopp has said many times—the most important of the unimportant things. Football is only important insofar as it gives us community, allows us escape the daily grind, and allows us to dream. And Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool has given us plenty to dream about.
Of course, Liverpool were quite dire for the first 3 months of 2021. And yet, they found a way to turn things around, collectively.
“On the pitch, it is true there were parts of 2021 that were very difficult for football reasons, particularly in the first few months of the year. We had more than our fair share of long-term injuries and we struggled for consistency and form.
“But I have to say once again, the way the boys pulled it together and went 10 games unbeaten to take us back into the Champions League remains one of my absolute proudest moments as a manager.
“There is a photo stuck in my mind of the final day of last season. It was taken after the game and we had 10,000 supporters back at Anfield. It shows Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams applauding the fans in front of the Kop, both of them with bruises and cuts to their faces.”
Prior to the remarkable turn around which led to Liverpool’s unlikely third-place finish in the league, things were looking bleak. The Reds were as blunt in attack as they were porous in defense.
And yet, they still managed to turn it around. They came together, and unlikely heroes emerged.
Who will be the unlikely heroes—on and off the pitch—in the year to come? If football is a microcosm for the rest of society, we can at least have hope that we’ll find a way forward. That greed, selfishness, and stupidity will no longer rule our lives. But of course, we’ll have to make that decision together.
If you have time, take a moment to read the rest of Jurgen’s message. He also talks about losing Andrew Stanley Devine, the 97th victim of the Hillsborough Disaster, and about the important work of healthcare workers everywhere, especially at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
Personally, thanks for another great year at TLO. And Merry Christmas.