LAST week we weren’t happy with Jürgen Klopp and his gang of defeated urchins. This week Klopp wasn’t happy with us and our gaggle of silent urchins.
Thankfully the team on the pitch won comfortably, but we got absolutely slaughtered by Huddersfield Town in the fan game. Even if most of their chants were as Football League as Football League gets, they were at least loud and plentiful.
Living down south, I don’t get to as many games as I wish I could. This past weekend though I was determined to make it as enjoyable as possible, even if The Reds have made it difficult to relish the footie in recent times.
It started by spending nearly two hours on the M25, followed by further holdups on the M40, M42 and M6. By the time I reached Liverpool I’d spent seven-and-a-half hours doing a journey that usually takes no more than five. I was not a happy camper, but I’d soon be watching The Reds, so all would shortly be forgiven.
Needless to say at half time I was one of those in the concourse using more swear words than non-swear words to describe the team. It’s amazing how much more you think they owe you when you’ve had a bad journey to watch them, as if they know that and have taken it into consideration heading into the game.
“We were going to play slow and steady to try and break down their low block, but Dave’s had a shit time between the M6 toll and the M62 so let’s just press high and try to blow them out the water with high energy entertainment.”
If you could lads, that’d be smashing.
Not to worry, the second half Reds did just that, the little teases.
What was most satisfying about the win, or at least the nature of it, was how routine and yet not routine it felt. Liverpool have spent their season allowing bad fortune to consume them and punish them at every turn. Every league win (apart from Arsenal) has been a laboured struggle, goals have flowed against us, and chance after chance has been missed at crucial times. When Mo Salah had his penalty saved, it felt like another inevitable chapter in the same story.
Then in the second half, a ball from Alberto Moreno, a run from Roberto Firmino and one forced moment of good luck later saw Daniel Sturridge open the scoring, and it was as if a towel had been lifted from the team’s heads. A realisation that it doesn’t have to be this way, and Liverpool set about being much better than Huddersfield at everything and putting them to the sword.
It was a 3-0 home win against, with all due respect, the sort of team Liverpool should be beating 3-0 every time we play them, and yet hardly ever seem to. That was only the third time Liverpool have won 3-0 at home in the league since the start of 2015-16, and the other two were in pressure games against a very good Manchester City side and the crucial victory over Middlesbrough on the last day of last season. Other home wins have either been much closer affairs, or utter thrashings.
Of course you could argue that the pressure was just as much on in this game given the fallout from last week’s drab showing at Wembley. Fans needed a response, and belatedly, they got one. That could be the reason for the poor atmosphere that barely raised to more than a feint “Fields of Anfield Road” at any point from what I could hear way up in the Main Stand, although obviously did improve once the goals came.
As Huddersfield fans threatened to break the “bant-o-meter” by singing “is this a library?” I almost felt compelled to reply “No it’s not, but coincidentally I do have copies of my new book if you’re interested? It’s called Kloppite: One Man’s Quest to turn Doubters into Believers, available from all good book shops now.” But that sort of shameless plug is below me quite frankly…
The comments from both managers after the game about the lack of noise out of the home fans wasn’t surprising, but equally, the lack of noise shouldn’t have been all that surprising for Klopp in particular. He’s been here long enough to know that we love our club and if given any excuse, will back them to the hilt and cheer them on with all our lung capacity. However, unlike in Germany where most grounds are just a humming wall of noise, not really raising or dipping through the 90 minutes, we in England are much more reactionary. There has to be a catalyst, and it should have been obvious to anyone that losing like we did to Tottenham Hotspur, and then playing as insipidly as we did in the first half on Saturday was never going to be the spur to any noise other than a shout of “Sake, Reds!”
As much as we’d all love it to be, support from the stands in England is not unconditional. It works very much on a “give a little, get a little” policy, and it’s not just at Anfield. Think of the best, most vocal fans in the country, and they will be as silent as anything coming off drab defeats and being subjected to lifeless performances in games expected to be plain sailing. It’s not ideal but it’s just who we are. It’s how we work.
However, showings like the one in the second half will help. The slight fortune of the goal changed the game and mood of both teams entirely. I watched the game back last night and some of the football in the second half was electric. Confidence and a slightly more open opposition does wonders. Even all three substitutes came into the game seamlessly, with Emre Can and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain playing key roles in the third goal, while Dominic Solanke showed nice touches and could well have grabbed a goal if he’d had more confidence on his left foot.
Picking up points without making a drama about it is going to be vital this season. After all the somewhat justified doom and gloom, one routine win over Huddersfield later and we’re now sixth (unless Newcastle can win at Burnley tonight). We’re all of a sudden three points closer to Tottenham. A victory over a very poor looking West Ham next weekend sees us make up points on at least two of Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City heading into the international break.
One win does not mean we’ve turned a corner, but you can’t turn a corner until you’ve started to turn, and wins over West Ham and Southampton in our next two would see us on 22 points from 12 games, almost two points a game and not bad at all on paper. That takes us into Chelsea at Anfield and hopefully a big performance both on and off the pitch. We’ll have Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane back by then, the sky will be bright, the flowers will smell nicer and The Reds will be mustard, and most importantly, we’ll all love one another again.
And then Jürgen, then we will sing. And boy will we sing.
Up the routine Reds.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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after the burnley game coming out of the anfield rd end i heard a lad behind me say its all the tourists fault the lack of atmosphere. i was so pissied off i turned around and told him to fuck off. i was there as a tourist, a tourist who comes from ireland 8 times a year but a tourist none the less. i also had my lad with me. i pointed out to him that my fella sings his head off all game as i do and that we had 3 scousers besides us who wouldnt stand and sing ynwa! can you believe that and them in their candy jerseys! the scouse girl on her own sitting beside was on the phone texted all game long, all game i kid you not! i tried to talk to her asking what was the kop mural for but she just shrugged and said dont know..back to whatsapp!
i suppose he wouldnt have said that had we won, but i think its the fans that should start it. in the warmup give the players a song keep it going for more that 5 mins after kickoff. We have great songs poor scouser tommy, every other saturday which you will only hear from a few who know the words and they tend to dull the atmos when sung because there isnt mass participation. Anfield rd, we love you liverpool, bertie mee, poetry in motion are the main ones you will hear… we have a dearth of songs. look at the last few songs for players…none for sturridge, bobby firmino, mane and wijnaldum are all pretty poor if you ask me…maybe i should start writing some myself..who knows …..but it should start in the stands
Yea this “tourist” accusation is bullshit.
What about when’s their league or domestic Cup games mid week meaning far less tourists, surely the atmos would be electric then but it’s not?!
@Ant Mora, was at the United vs LFC game at Anfield, as a “tourist” from the US in the Anfield Road End, and felt the same as you did. I lost my voice singing with my awful voice, while my mate sat there looking at me embarrassed. There was an “Asian” guy busy eating some Thai food as I could smell the Galangal, and I just shook my head as I saw Klopp animated on the touchline yelling at the team, when United were leading.
I couldn’t and didn’t stop singing even after they scored, as I was so angered by the away fans that I wanted to drown out their voices, but other than a few on that side, I sounded like some drunk weirdo and received odd looks. Even worse were three muppets behind me discussing baseball. Baseball!!! I turned around and just gave them a look like they needed to fuck off.
It costs a lot of money to make the pilgrimage from the US and anywhere else I would imagine, and also taking time off work, etc. Not everyone gets paid vacation here in the US.
I have watched the away games whenever I am in London and been sat next to the home fans which sometimes I enjoy because I end up with the odd group who sing songs (that I have no clue on) and are enjoying themselves, but secretly yearning to be with the Koppites especially when we won those games.
Whatever the case, the atmosphere is lacking at Anfield, and I wonder if this is because of no consistent winning streaks that end up with trophies.
Was this the case with the “almost won” 2013/14 season as well, or if everyone was in their seats to watch the whole match and sing their hearts out? Wow to have been there watching those games that season.
Well I hope Jurgen turns the Anfield Library into the Anfield Cauldron some day soon, though I won’t blame him if he isn’t able to.
Meant to say the United game at Anfield during 2015/16 season.
The first half was dire, but really it was the Salah miss that made you feel like it wasn’t going to be our day. Again.
Every now and then, I try to remind myself of Hoffenheim so the Arsenal match doesn’t feel so anomalous. Maribor seem too much a minnow, but Hoffenheim were proper opponents on the wrong end of a de-pantsing. More of that please.
The loss against Spurs stabbed me deep. It was truly one of, if not the most demoralising defeat, I can recall in recent times. Worse than City by a mile because, despite media hysteria over Spurs, City are twice as good as them and we had ten men for the majority of it.
All of that is what made Saturday so satisfying. It was the kind of regulation win the top teams continue to chalk up without shouting about it. You win leagues on the back of such wins and at the same time show you can break down stubborn opponents.
As a 70+ year old who left Liverpool and England in 1968, it never ceases to amaze me how empty the ground is even 10 or 15 minutes before kick-off. In the “old days” the ground would be full at least half an hour before kick-off and for “big” games, even all ticket ones, the ground could be full, and the gates even closed, up to an hour before. That pre kick-off time was the time that generated the atmosphere that is missing today. Of course, in the 60’s the crowd sang all the hit songs as most of the chart music was by local bands. the other thing is that the team didn’t come out for a “warm up’ as that was done in the dressing room or the car park behind the main stand, so the first sight of the team was literally a couple of minutes before kick off, when the reds would head to the Kop end whilst the two captains went to the middle to toss-up and the roar that greeted the team as they emerged from the tunnel helped set the tone and atmosphere for the game
My season ticket is right of centre, quite high up, in the Main Stand. I am astonished at the number of folk who (a) miss the kick off (b) leave their seat with 4 or 5 minutes remaining of the 1st half (c) return to their seat after the 2nd half has kicked off (against Huddersfield I swear a couple on our row did not return until the 56th minute) (d) leave the game with 6 or 7 minutes left to play + added time (the same couple always leave before the end). Not saying this affects the atmosphere in the stadium, but actually it doesn’t help. Proper fans hang on to every ball played from the first whistle, they kick every ball, they feel the tension, they sing to help the side. These folk must miss 15 minutes of every game, I’m amazed.
Just for context, as with the first contributor here, I live across the water, but unlike him I have never been to Anfield, despite following LFC obsessively since the Littlewoods Cup Final of 1987. Just one of the many things that made me fall in love with the club was how every time they were on the telly, there seemed to be a huge racket. Maybe I just remember the noisy games, maybe it was because John Barnes and co were destroying all opposition, but the ground seemed in a constant state of merry fervour. So while I get the ‘give a little, get a little’ argument, and the changed circumstances around matchgoing rituals and those attending the games, it still upsets me a little when we become such an easy target for any set of visiting fans with a megaphone and a clean sheet by the 15th minute. I know people could legitimately criticise me for criticising them, when I haven’t even managed to get to the ground, but a fanbase and its traditions need to be nurtured, from the top down and the bottom up. So more local people attending, more young people, more booze, frankly, and fewer phones. I honestly think any club that blocks the wi-fi apart from 10 minutes at half-time would instantly see an improvement in atmosphere. Not every game is going to be the 2005 CL semi-final but damnit, there has to be a half-crazed element in the ground that will at least pretend it is.
Our atmosphere is very poor for the large majority of games, independent of how the team play. You could argue the 1st half on Saturday was influenced by the very poor game on show but it wasn’t that much better after we went 3 – 0 up.
This is on top of 70% of our fans disappearing from Wembley as soon as we went 4 – 1 down against Spurs.
Klopp is probably the best chance we have of ever winning the league again but he needs help from us
The point about blocking wi-fi is absolutely ‘nail on the head’.
Personally i would ban mobile phones completely…..nothing more irritating than some whoppers taking selfies etc during a match.
Whatever happened to the copyright law that only official photographers could take snaps inside any ground?
I also like the ‘more booze ‘ idea…..i would certainly drink to that.
I recall going to QPR in the days of their Guiness sponsorship and they would do a ‘bogof’ before kick off in the bar at the away end.
We used to get in there early rather than waste time in the alehouses of Shepherds Bush……well oiled on the special back to Limey.
Listen, a pace of 22p from 12 games gets you 69-70 points. Surely doesn’t look good even on paper? Let alone it being an optimistic estimation with West Ham and Soton yet to be played. Sure, it would be really promising but, make no mistake, right now we are still very much in a rut and need to pick up the tempo BIG TIME if we’re looking to quickly get back on track towards what must be the minimum target of top four/76p. Three wins on the bounce won’t do it for us – we need five AND to keep going at 2ppg thereon in.
A longer-term way of looking at it: we need to average 2,143ppg from now on to get to 76p. That’s 81p or top three form over a season. Granted, not every top three team over the years has shown that form throughout the season while still finishing in said top three – there can be blips and upturns in form – but we’re 10 games into the season. 10 games is too large a sample for it’s resulting points total to be concidered a blip or purple patch. We’re staring at the brink now lads.