We have lots of concerns this season, both as Liverpool supporters and football fans. Racism. Social media abuse. Injuries. Champions League qualification. Ownership. Money and greed. Transfers in and out.
All of these things are valid concerns, ones that will not go away when the final whistle blows on the season. But for 90 minutes on Sunday, we—Liverpool fans, and hopefully the Liverpool players—should put all of that out of our minds.
There’s a game to win. The game to win.
For all of Manchester City’s new-found wealth, they will never have a rivalry like we do with their neighbor (and certainly not with Liverpool, despite social media influencers’ best efforts).
Liverpool’s rivalry with Manchester United cannot be artificially manufactured. It is historical and organic. It is between the two most successful clubs in English football, and it is still a fight for contemporary supremacy. Over the decades, we have seen that as one team wins, the other fades. It is a waxing and waning, like phases of the moon—binary—it must be going one of two directions. And try as they might, other teams just aren’t as relevant to English football as these two giants.
We thought United was on the ropes. “Ole at the wheel” jokes were plentiful. But United is never truly dead and buried (just as Liverpool’s reported demise was premature).
It is the only match of the season that has me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. No goal against another side is as sweet. No goal conceded is as devastating. We talk about the wins over United, especially at Old Trafford, for decades. The losses burn, equally painfully and long-lived in the memory.
Perhaps Champions League qualification is impossible now. But this weekend it’s not worth thinking about the wider implications of this match.
For 90 minutes it’s us vs. them. Our biggest rival. We have a chance to beat them at their gaff. Jurgen Klopp has a chance to pick up his first win there.
We have no silverware left to play for. But we can beat United. This is about pride. About giving us all something memorable to end the season. About staking a claim for next season. That claim? We will be back. It is still our turn to reign supreme over English football. Everyone else look up and admire us on our perch.
Just fucking win.