THE human mind is a complicated and wonderful thing.
One of the primary functions of mine seems to be to distract me from menial tasks on a regular basis, pushing joyous memories to the forefront to repel the crippling mundanity of day-to-day living. Some of the most regular are Liverpool Football Club related.
I’ll be in the Asda perusing the deli section thinking about Andy Carroll breaking all the Ev’s hearts at Wembley. I’ll be on the train to uni reminiscing about Dirk Kuyt scoring a perfect hat-trick against United. I’ll be laying on the couch guessing the price of an 18th century painting of a dog on Bargain Hunt with, “Luis Garcia… tries his luck… OH WHAT A GOAL. WHAT A GOAL, WHAT A NIGHT”, playing over and over again in my head.
Since April I’m quite commonly taken back to the rush of primal euphoria that overcame me and everybody else at Anfield against Borussia Dortmund.
Everything about that night, from the army of banners and billowing red smoke covering most of L4 as the team bus passed the King Harry, to the absolute rasper of a rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone before kick-off, was absolutely perfect. But the sensation I’m taken back to most is the bestial roar of c. 43,000 when big Degsy Lovren met James Milner’s cross and, with £20m worth of handsome Croat forehead, powered it home and caused a let-off in the Kop the likes of which you’re lucky to experience once in your lifetime.
Of course, there are now 8,000 more seats in the ground compared with April.
The ‘roided up new Main Stand (soon to be the Dunkin’ Donuts Stand, or some other such shite) construction has been completed, and that truss looks well less stupid now there’s actually loads of people underneath it. After a good few years of renovation versus new-build deliberation, Big John Dub’yuh found a spare few mill down the back of the couch in 2014, hired some architects and builders and now we’ve got over 50,000 supporters in the ground every week.
And the difference was palpable against Leicester on Saturday. It was by no means an all-time atmospheric classic, but the difference in noise in comparison with a normal Saturday afternoon game early in the season was clear for all to hear.
From my seat, in block 104 of The Kop, it was actually quite unnerving to hear songs started from the Main Stand as the game kicked off. I have been going the game since the year 2000 as a kid and I swear to God, I don’t reckon I’ve heard that part of the ground kick-off ‘Oh Campioné’ ever in my life. There was one moment in the second-half were the Main and Kop were singing two different ditties and the one coming from the Main won over because of the sheer numbers behind it.
And it didn’t let up, either. As the Leicester end pulled out all the stops with the full Now! ‘That’s What I Call Bad Wool Anthems™’ repertoire, including such hits as “Is this is a Library,” it was the Main, not The Kop, that hit back in the quieter periods of the match. U8 is the new 305.
It’s fairly obvious that this great new atmosphere won’t be the case every week in the new Main. The novelty of a big, shiny new stand served as the main catalyst, the team were doing the business on the pitch, and the local sales ensured that more scousers were in the ground than usual. Maybe some of it was vertigo. But you have to believe that the increase in numbers and the positive start on Saturday will lead to a steady and enjoyable improvement as the season continues, even if a Sunday early kick-off against a side lower down the table might be more of a struggle.
Klopp called for more noise at the unveiling of the new stand on Friday, and the fans in there followed it up on Saturday. He added a small caveat in his post-match press conference, though, saying, “I have to say, because I don’t know how else I can say this, please don’t sing my name before the game is decided!”
Sorry Jürgen, mate, but no dice. Everyone reckons you’re boss, and you’re going to be hearing an awful lot about it every single week.
But despite the higher noise levels, not all of it was positive. It took about 10 minutes or so for a few around me to start moaning about Si Mignolet’s kicking, and after Jamie Vardy’s goal one gobshite screamed at him, “That’s your fault that you fuckin’ knob’ead! Learn to kick the fucking the ball will yer!” Even as “His first name is Lucas, is Lucas…” started up from behind us at the back of the Kop, there were plenty giving the Brazilian loads of abuse too.
And that’s the slight worry with all the extra seats — there will be plenty of extra noise, but it’s no use if it’s the sound of people whinging and crying all the time. There always have been and always will be loads of moaning bastards in the ground every week who seem physically incapable of feeling happiness, and their cry-arsing must be fought against.
Alberto Moreno is bound to play some football at Anfield at left-back this season, in front of the 20,000 in that stand. The inevitable wailing and groaning that will come from such an intimidating number of people when he first misplaces a pass is a worrying prospect. The people in the new Main are now capable of lifting the players with that wall of noise, but they also now have the power to knock them down and completely obliterate their confidence if they use it in the wrong way.
It was a fantastic start on Saturday, though, and if the Reds maintain their current tendency to play mad, glorious football and we keep up our part of the bargain of it, the extra noise of 8,000 more supporters might even mean we top that night against Dortmund one day.
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