You’ll Never Walk Alone: Liverpool Wins the Premier League

Liverpool Fans Celebrate winning the league. Photo by Shaun Donnelly

Liverpool had never won the English Premier League (EPL) title until last Thursday, June 25th. The premier league only came about in the 1990-91 season. Before that, it was called the English First Division. Liverpool won that title 18 times, more than any other First Division club, before the league changed to the modern EPL. In other words, this legendary club and its fans have been waiting—no, thirsting—for a return to English glory. 

They’ve come close before. So close. Five times in the last 30 years, Liverpool FC ended their season in second place.

The Champions league title, however, has found its home in Liverpool twice in the past three decades. In 2005, Liverpool ceded three goals to AC Milan in the first half of play before roaring back in the second half with three goals of their own. Liverpool went on to win in penalties. The game is now dubbed the “Miracle of Istanbul.” 

Last year, Liverpool provided one of the greatest second rounds of Semi-final Champions League football the world has ever seen. Losing the first leg 3-0 to FC Barcelona, Liverpool needed to win by an unlikely four goal margin. Liverpool punished the powerhouse Spanish squad four to nothing. That game gave us one of the most memorable moments in recent soccer memory in the cheeky corner kick taken by 20-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold. They went on to beat fellow England squad, Tottenham Hotspur in the final.

Fans rightly celebrated that Champions League victory, but it’s fair to say, this season, their hopes were set on taking home the league title. The squad had everything: an elite attacking force, a dynamic midfield, the best center back in the game, and the world’s best goalkeeper. They also had world class coach Jürgen Klopp, one of the most likeable people on soccer’s world stage. 1

Klopp’s squad completely dominated the season and brought home the title with seven games left to play—an almost nonexistent occurrence in England’s topflight league. They’ve hoped for this for 30 years, and that hope was fulfilled last Thursday.

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Hope fulfilled—we can all use a little more of that these days. If you’re anything like me, then you’ve been struck by the dreadful feeling that things will just keep getting worse. This pandemic will never end. Our country will continue to descend into division and violent confrontations. The scourge of racism will never be uprooted from the nation’s soul.

But none of that is true.

We have to keep hope alive. Indeed, it’s what our faith is founded upon. As Paul writes to the Hebrews, “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” 2 The resilience of Liverpool fans can teach us something about that hope. Their very anthem is like a message from God. From the depths of their hearts and at the tops of their lungs, the whole stadium sings that anthem together every match. It goes:

When you walk through a storm

Hold your head up high

And don’t be afraid of the dark

At the end of a storm

There’s a golden sky

And the sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind

Walk on through the rain

Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on

With hope in your heart

And you’ll never walk alone

You’ll never walk alone

Walk on, walk on

With hope in your heart

And you’ll never walk alone

You’ll never walk alone 3

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Liverpool waited 30 years for that title to come back to their beloved city. They had their hearts broken time and time again, but they continued to wait. And they did it together. That hope carried them to taking the title in 2020 of all years. I’m no lifelong Liverpool fan, but it’s something I’m celebrating.

Our hope needs to carry us on. For how long, we don’t know. If we pay attention, we can see the great things in our life that inspire hope. I take hope in the fact the pandemic is showing people how valuable we are to one another. Zoom meetups are useful, but I’ve rediscovered the value of hugging my loved ones in person. Live-streamed Masses help dull the pain of not attending, but nothing is better than actually receiving the Eucharist. 

This pandemic helps us to put these in perspective. Much like Liverpool’s 30-year absence from the top spot of English soccer made them long to be champions again, so does our absence from loved ones and cherished celebrations make us long for them even more. But in prayer, we can imagine Christ speaking the above lyrics to us. And we hope and trust that with him, we’ll never walk alone.

Editor’s note: The original post had a mistake in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s name. Friday, 03-Jul-2020 08:41:58

  1. I doubt you will ever see another coach inspire the kind of love like Klopp does. For proof, look at this video of celebrations after winning the Champions League last year. His players are unapologetic in expressing their joy and gratitude to their gaffer.
  2. Hebrew 11:1
  3. You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Gary and the Pacemakers

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