Liverpool are struggling to cope with the loss of fans this term, with one dressing room source telling The Athletic that each game played feels “soulless”.
Following government restrictions, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Premier League has had to continue the season without supporters in the stadiums.
“No one wants to say it publicly because you get accused of making excuses, but it is a lot harder without the fans,” the unnamed source said. “The games are soulless. Every one of them feels the same. All the motivation has to come from within. Even just having a few thousand back in for a few games at Anfield before Christmas made a massive difference.”
For a club, and manager, that pride themselves on a definitive, emotional connection with the fanbase, the loss will be more than keenly felt.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have evidently been significantly affected by the long-term injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, whose absences have had a series of knock-on effects to the squad.
As we have had to reiterate on more than one occasion: it’s not an excuse, but it’s a vital, if perhaps small, part of the picture explaining why Liverpool’s performances this season have suffered.
That’s not to say that it hasn’t been the right decision to bar fans from games, in light of the still horrific numbers of deaths occurring as a result of COVID-19.
There are bigger things than football, in the context of the ongoing pandemic, but it’ll no doubt be a massive plus to the players to have the supporters back in future – when it is safe to arrange.