“This is an occasion to be celebrated. In no way whatsoever will we be affected negatively by the atmosphere, if anything we will be affected positively and galvanised by it.”
Those were Villarreal boss Marcelino exacts words back in 2016 on the eve of the Europa League semis, where he insisted an electric Anfield atmosphere will only serve to inspire his players against Liverpool. Villareal had won their first leg 1-0 and were confident of completing the job in the return leg at Anfield. What they did not expect was the atmosphere awaiting them. Having entered the cauldron of fire, the visitors looked visibly shaken as Klopp’s men put three past them without reply and comfortably strolled into the Europa League finals. What’s truly amazing is that such an atmosphere is replicated on a consistent basis on big European nights, as Real Madrid, Chelsea, Borrusia Dortmund, Manchester United, Hoffenheim and lately Manchester City would’ve found out. Again and again, opponents were left cowering in fear as the noise of Anfield overwhelm all rational thoughts. It’s nights such as this where Liverpool truly come alive, and the magic of Anfield put on full display.
Before the game against Man City, many City fans scoffed at the so-called “amazing atmosphere” and simply didn’t believe it to be an advantage for Liverpool. How wrong were they. The way the fans welcomed the two sets of teams to the ground (barring some idiots who threw missiles at the Citizens’ bus) was a sign of things to come. Energised by the crowd’s stunning rendition of YNWA, the men in Red flew out of their starting blocks. Even though City’s captain Kompany tried to unsettle the Reds by forcing them to attack the Kop end in the first half rather than the second, it did little good as Liverpool banged in three goals. Though City had a team filled with world-class players, they obviously had not played in such a hostile environment, and it was telling when the likes of de Bruyne and Silva were passing balls straight out of play. The men in Blue looked shell shocked and were made to play like boys against men. In the end, those who doubted Anfield were left to eat humble pie and be forced back to Manchester with their tails between their legs.
Why Anfield? Why don’t we see this at any other stadiums? The answer is the fans. They certainly played their role as the 12th man to perfection, booing every single touch by a City player, and reserving their abuse for Sterling when he was introduced. There wasn’t a single moment last night when Anfield was quiet. In fact. it was rocking throughout the entire game, with cries of “Allez Allez Allez” clearly being heard. Liverpool may not have the best team in the world, but to have such a crowd behind their backs, they’re a force to be reckoned with throughout the continent.
So watch out Europe. Scorn at us at your own expense. Until you truly experience the might of Anfield, it’s best to leave the talking on the pitch than in the press room.