AFC Liverpool have secured their place in the NWCFL Premier Division next season after their 2-2 draw against Winsford United.

The coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the non-league pyramid of football continually over the past two years.

From March 2020, the whole footballing system went through phases of indefinite suspension.

AFC Liverpool were like many, victims of cancellation.

The manager of the Reds, Chris Anderson, told Merseysportlive: “Obviously, Covid kind of killed us a little bit for the time being.

“We were doing really well. We should have got promoted at the time Covid hit.”

AFC Liverpool play at the Marine Travel Arena
Credit: Robbie Dascombe-Rouse

The 2020-21 season was no different and inevitably, was cancelled again on January 4 2021, when the FA ceased all “non-elite” football.

With the beginning of the third UK national lockdown by this point, the cycle seemed never ending.

However, the FA configured guidelines on promotion/ relegation candidates for each league that was cancelled, for the following season.

It was based on a points per game system, that used data from the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, inviting teams to apply for promotion.

Subsequently, the Reds gained promotion to the Premier Division of the NWCFL, after a successful application on May 18th 2021.

2021-22 season

The first game of the season in their new league was an away trip to Vauxhall Motors on the July 31, 2021.

The not-for-profit side won 2-1, thanks to a Daniel Cockerline brace.

The 2021-2022 season has overall proved to provide more stability, and AFC Liverpool are relishing every lost minute taken from the pandemic.

Vice Chairman Greg Armstrong is delighted they are able to play again on a consistent basis in the Premier Division.

He told Merseysportlive: “For us it’s the lifeline, obviously when the crowds were restricted, our league shut down completely so obviously we had cut tail seasons.

“To get people back in and promoting games again and getting the bodies in the ground and just having a really good crowd is definitely a real boost to all the players and everyone around the club.”

Kyle Schorah scored twice for AFC Liverpool
Credit: Robbie Dascombe-Rouse

Earning promotion from the North West Counties League Division One North last season, Anderson’s side are currently on 42 points in 13th place.

The manager is glad to be back on the side-line, after abrupt finishes to the previous two seasons.

He said: “It’s great to be back on the pitch, having fans and it seems like Covid is gone and everything is back to normal.”

Briefly, his side also had an FA Cup run, beating currently 14th placed Padiham 3-2 in the extra preliminary round.

However in reverse, they lost 3-2 to Bootle FC in the preliminary round, who reside in the Northern Premier League West.

The future of AFC Liverpool

With maintaining their status in the Premier Division now secured, it could be argued the non-league side are hungry for further success.

Remaining coy on the prospect of a top ten finish, Anderson said: “I think it may be tight.

“I’d love to, if we finish as high as we possibly can i.e. top of the bottom half, maybe.

“Then I think it will be a very successful season knowing we’ve come up from the division below last season.

“Our aim is to finish with as many points as possible.”

The season doesn’t end here for AFC Liverpool, with an away trip against Longridge Town on Saturday followed by a cup game with FC Isle of Man, who are currently league leaders of the First Division South.

The tie is on March 16 in the first round of the Macron Cup.

AFC Liverpool set up the footy for a fiver scheme to help fans priced out of Premier League tickets
Credit: Robbie Dascombe-Rouse

Ultimately, the focus for Anderson and his squad is to look ahead to the future rather than backwards.

The manager added: “Really, it will be about getting players minutes, working towards next season and seeing the areas we need to improve on.

“And seeing new lads coming in and trying to get them to understand the way we play football.”

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