When Liverpool supporters drifted away from Anfield in the wake of Champions League elimination to Atletico Madrid almost 12 months ago, they already knew it could be some time before they returned.
Few, though, could have anticipated their absence would be so prolonged.
The coronavirus pandemic was already prompting fear and confusion the last time Jurgen Klopp’s side played to a full house on March 11, a game many still believe should not have gone ahead.
Indeed, Liverpool would have to wait another 102 days before they were next in action, the UK joining countries across the globe by locking down in the face of such a threat to life.
But when the Reds did return to the pitch, it was behind closed doors. As with every other club until the end of the season. And the start of this season. And then almost the entirety of it.
By the time the campaign ends, a maximum of 16,000 Liverpool fans will have attended Anfield to watch the Reds play. A further 2,000 Fulham followers saw Jurgen Klopp’s side at Craven Cottage in December.
The home games against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion saw 2,000 supporters make the noise of more than 10 times that amount.
And now, after the Government on Monday mapped out the path towards a return to normal life, there is the prospect of 10,000 being allowed in for the final day of the season at home to Crystal Palace.
Of course, they won’t be able to celebrate last season’s title win. That moment has long passed, fans at least having been able to enjoy the ride until shortly before the 30-year wait was ended with Jordan Henderson lifting the silverware at an empty Anfield last July.
But to be back in such number will be a relief for everyone concerned.