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Malachy Clerkin: The Liverpool fan just wants the season to be over at this point

With the Merseyside Derby on the horizon, the fraught business of supporting Jürgen Klopp’s side has taken a turn for the worse

The Liverpool fan could do without this right now. There’s enough going on in the world without having to spend any part of the day thinking about Joël Matip. Cost of living, war, far-right gobshites, whatever it is – he has enough on his mind. Can he not have five minutes to sit in peace without his baffled centre-half waving a leg and scoring an own goal? Can he not have that?

It’s Merseyside Derby weekend. The Liverpool fan shouldn’t have to be worrying about Merseyside Derby weekend. Once upon a time, maybe, at a push. But not these days. Everton have had one win at Anfield this century. Liverpool have lost to them once in the past 26 games, home and away. They’ve had more to fear from random beach balls than from Everton over the past 15 years.

A Merseyside derby should be like a warm bath for the Liverpool fan. Soothing. Gentle. A chance to let it all hang out. But no. Here she is, beside herself at the thought that Seán Dyche is going to come and do a job on them. If he can do it to Arsenal, he can do it to Liverpool. So now she has to light candles hoping that Neal Maupay stubs a toe or that Jordan Pickford gets a dose of the trots. This is what her life has become. She doesn’t like it, not one bit.

The Liverpool fan has muted all three of his LFC WhatsApp groups. But he still checks them on an hourly basis. He can’t not. He throws in the odd comment now and then but mostly he stays out of it. It can get shirty in there very quickly. He said something encouraging about Harvey Elliott a couple of weeks ago and all it did was start another bitching session about FSG. Everything turns into a bitching session about FSG.


The Liverpool fan would appreciate it very much if some of the Liverpool players would stop getting injured. Even if they could just stagger it out a little so that that team wasn’t missing eight Champions League regulars all at once, that would be great. She hates that she knows the names of half the medical staff. She was outraged that it took four months to appoint an official club doctor. She wouldn’t be shocked to hear they were mostly Googling symptoms in the interim.

Don’t be talking to the Liverpool fan about Darwin Nunez. He won’t hear a word against him, so g’way and boil your head, right? Yes, he misses the odd chance but at least he’s trying. Not like some of the other wasters. The Liverpool fan reckons if they had half a dozen more like him, they’d be far better off.

And while you’re at it, don’t be badmouthing Klopp either. Yes, yes, she has heard all the arguments. She knows about what happened at Borussia Dortmund after a certain length of time. She sees him getting cranky with a reporter – and a Liverpool reporter at that – and she knows it looks like he’s losing the magic. But if you think that means he has to go, she has a short pier to point you towards. She remembers Roy Hodgson. She remembers Brendan Rodgers.

No, on the list of lads to be shot out of a cannon, the Liverpool fan has plenty of names above Klopp’s. He can’t believe Naby Keita is five years at the club. He’s not sure what Joe Gomez is for. He presumed James Milner and Jordan Henderson would be pundits by now. If Fabinho, Thiago and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were all kidnapped and held for ransom, he wouldn’t be hurrying the club into paying up. Not for all of them anyway.

Truth is, the Liverpool fan could do with a break. Just once, she reckons, it would be nice to get through a weekend without having to subject herself to it all. A bit of me-time wouldn’t go astray, that’s for damn sure. She figured that might be the one saving grace of going out of the FA Cup, except now she finds out they’re playing the next round in midweek at the end of the month. Blatant anti-Scouse bias. Blatant.

Speaking of which, imagine the Liverpool fan’s surprise when the Premier League announced all those charges against Manchester City during the week. Oh, you could have knocked him down with a feather. The Liverpool fan, in his innocence, imagined all along that they were up against a normal, community-based sports club who were buying all those players with the takings from the bar in Liam Gallagher’s executive suite. He is shocked – shocked! – to hear there might have been some jiggery-pokery afoot.

But the Liverpool fan can’t be bothering herself with all that stuff. She has enough on her plate. She looks at the table and wonders how it has come to this. She was in Paris for the Champions League final, like five minutes ago. And now they’re 10th in the league? How can that be?

The worst of it is, the Liverpool fan sees no obvious way out. They won’t get into the Champions League when FSG don’t buy better players but better players won’t come unless they’re in the Champions League. The Liverpool fan doesn’t think they have a hope of getting Jude Bellingham or Declan Rice in the summer. He doesn’t even rate Rice any more but it’s the principle of the thing. Getting turned down by players who aren’t good enough in the first place has a very mid-2000s Liverpool vibe to it. The Liverpool fan doesn’t want to go back there.

None of this is good. None of this is fun. The Liverpool fan is sick to the back teeth of it all and asks to be left alone for the next few months.

House private. Family WhatsApps only.