Liverpool At Anfield: The Perfect Storm

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Constantly compared to the high-flying Manchester City, Liverpool’s Premier League achievements go by pretty much unnoticed as their plaudits are laid aside for the Champions League. It got a brief mention before the Bournemouth game but with Manchester City’s loss to United a few weeks ago it left Liverpool as the only team to remain unbeaten at home so far in the season, with only 19th placed Stoke and 13th placed Brighton standing in their way; its looking likely that Jurgen Klopp’s team will end the season without losing a single league game at Anfield. Many critics will point to the FA Cup defeat at home to West Brom, but this game is the exact reason why Liverpool have such a good record at home. The team has built a reputation similar to that of the Premier League Champions where teams will show up thinking that a point is a good result, Mourinho has been doing it for years, every small teams sets up with two banks of four and Tottenham and Chelsea will have found themselves fortunate to come away with anything more than a loss. So back to the West Brom game, despite Van Dijk being at the club the team was still there for the taking defensively. With the Baggies only just appointing Pardew and having a relegation battle to worry about, they came to Anfield with nothing to lose and their performance showed it. Liverpool’s defensive frailties were on show to the whole world that day and despite conceding twice West Brom still went through. The worrying part for the rest of the Premier League is that since then Liverpool’s defence looks revitalised, after the FA Cup defeat Liverpool have kept nine clean sheets in fourteen games in all competitions and have put in fierce defensive performances in both Champions League games against Man City. Liverpool showed in those two games that for all their glories Pep Guardiola’s team still has a weakness at the back and not only did they expose it but showed them how to defend when the roles were reversed for the best part of 90 minutes over two games. It’s pretty straight forward to say that the reputation that surrounds Liverpool at Anfield has been moulded by the performances from the team. Long gone are the days where teams will come to Anfield knowing that if they can stay together at the back they will get a result, only twice in the league have Jurgen Klopp’s team drawn 0-0 at home; once to United and once to West Brom, they also have had a further three score draws to Burnley, Chelsea and Spurs. That means from 17 home games Liverpool have picked up a total of 41 points (Everton have picked up 42 points across the whole season so far); with a possible extra six points added to that it means the team will end the season picking up 47 points. That is the type of form that can have Liverpool competing for the league should they replicate it going forward, in 2016/17 Chelsea won 51 points at home on their way to comfortably winning the league with 93 points, 2015/16 Leicester only won 42 points at home in their title run and the season before that once again Chelsea won the league with 54 points at home. Even the dominant Manchester City have wrapped up the league with 43 points at home this season, just two more than Liverpool have managed with one less game played. If Guardiola’s team win all their remaining home games that total will rise to 52 points but winning 43 points at home this season was enough to see them crowned champions with five games to spare. The important thing for Liverpool is to keep the fear factor surrounding Anfield that has been there for the past few weeks, that doesn’t mean throwing bottles at team buses it just means making noise and creating an atmosphere once inside the stadium. With the main stand developed the current attendance of Anfield stands at 54,000 and if more work is done in the stadium that only increases the number. The best part about Anfield the past few weeks is seeing everyone singing their hearts out from minute one to ninety, whether they were on the front row of the kop or all the way up at the top of the main stand. If that type of atmosphere can intimidate the league champions and help the team get a 3-0 victory over them imagine what it can do to every other team that shows up to Anfield, there can’t even be any complaints about the atmosphere whatever the quality of the team is; Bournemouth were there last Saturday and Anfield was still rocking, I know this is because of the excitement of a Champions League Semi-Final but even if the team doesn’t lift the cup everyone needs to ride the crest of this wave into next season. When Jurgen Klopp first came to Liverpool he talked about turning the fans “from doubters into believers” and judging off the feel-good atmosphere surrounding the club at the moment it seems like he’s gone some way towards doing that, but now that there’s evidence of progress it’s important that everyone stays at believers. From August to May the team plays thirty-eight games in an attempt to be crowned champions of England come the end of the season, nineteen of these games are at home and the first game is just as important as the last, beating Manchester City at home gets you just as many points as beating Wolves will. That’s why it’s important for everyone to be on their A game from minute one, it’s great being in the Semi-Final of the Champions League or being in with a shout of winning the league but there’s a ton of games that need to be won to get there throughout the season. An atmosphere shouldn’t be something that only comes out on special occasions, it doesn’t mean the fans have to go out and greet every team bus every Saturday; it just means that once you’re inside the stadium you become one of the 50,000 cheering Liverpool towards a victory. We’ve got the best fans in the world and it should be something we show every week despite the opposition, performance or competition. If the fans pull their weight then it can get an extra 10% out of players and maybe push them towards some silverware. Article by Louis Connor Twitter: @Loui_Connor For more Redmen TV content including podcasts, subscriber exclusives and three new shows every week subscribe now and get your first month for FREE
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