Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits 2020 would have been an even worse year had his side not won their first Premier League title in 30 years.
Football was far from immune to the impact of the Covid pandemic and when the season shut down in March, with the Reds a couple of wins away from their landmark achievement, there was real concern it would not resume.
For Klopp and his players thankfully it did, and they duly completed the task in June. And while there was no parade or mass celebration for the club’s fans, the Reds boss said he hoped it made a tough year more bearable.
“I will remember it as a special year, 100 per cent,” he said.
“People have said to me ‘My God, you are a champion in 2020 when no-one could celebrate’, but I see things the other way around.
“Could you imagine this year being like it was and not being champions? Then the year would be really rubbish.
“In a very tricky year for the whole world, we have created some highlights for our supporters, for ourselves, for our families and our friends. So in that way it’s been a very special year.
“I got a lot of experiences I didn’t want to have in my life, but I will hopefully use that. And we created some memories which I will never forget for good reasons.
“Never before in my life at midnight on New Year’s Eve will I be as serious when I wish everyone a better 2021 than 2020.
“Maybe if we all wish for the same thing and this one time, maybe we can produce some positive energy that will help.”
One thing Klopp has learned from this strangest of years is that football without fans is nothing.
After a re-evaluation of the Covid tiering system in England, Liverpool and Everton are the only Premier League clubs currently allowed to have supporters in their grounds.
Part of that is due to a pilot mass-testing programme which has been operational in the city for the last couple of months, and Klopp is grateful.
“From our specific case it is a massive benefit from an emotional point of view. It’s just nicer. It’s much more enjoyable. That’s how it is,” he added.
“But I wish that everyone could have it. I don’t know how long we will have it.
“That is what this year has shown us: enjoy the good things, as long as they are there.
“You should not take them for granted. I will never ever in my life take a full stadium for granted, 100 per cent.
“After working at Mainz, Dortmund and Liverpool, I don’t think I’ve played a game in a long time with a non-sold-out stadium.
“I enjoyed it but didn’t think about it, or how special it is. For sure I will in the future much more than I did in the past.”