Down the years every cliché possible has been used when describing the crowd at Anfield. From the ’12th man’ to ‘The Kop sucking the ball into the net’.
Anfield holds one of the most special and unique atmospheres in world football, however, fans need to stop with the negativity.
On Wednesday night, Liverpool drew with Leicester 1-1 on Anfield, with a chance to go seven points clear of champions Manchester City. Throughout the day the various social media posts had been floating about of how special Anfield was going to be and how ‘up for it’ Liverpool were going to be. Despite all the anticipation, what occurred was the complete opposite.
Regardless of an early goal, nervousness took over. I have never been at a game where Liverpool have been consistently good all season and the crowd be so negative. It was like people were waiting for a player to make a mistake so they could get on their back.
There is a difference between the crowd being emotional and the crowd being too negative.
On Wednesday, the crowd were far too negative. Whereas in past seasons the emotion of supporters has carried the team through some big matches. Manchester City in the Champions League last season, Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League, City in the league back in 2014, Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final in 2005, the list goes on.
These are occasions where the crowd have really tried to make a positive impact on the pitch and it has translated towards the players. These are occasions where everybody has stood up all around the ground for the entire 90 minutes, instead of sitting down moaning and groaning.
In my opinion, the crowd being emotional is a positive attribute, and it is one of the factors that make Anfield unique compared to any other ground. The occasion, the flags on the Kop, the opposition and You’ll Never Walk Alone all add up to an emotional setting.
From now until May everybody at Anfield has to participate and not just spectate and wait to be entertained. It doesn’t work like that. From now until May every game has to be treated like a cup final, with every scarf and flag out.
To quote a famous Rafa Benitez press conference, from back in 2007, when Liverpool played Chelsea in the Champions League, he said:
We have our special ones here, they are our fans, who always play with their hearts. We don’t need to give away flags for our fans to wave. Our supporters are always there with their hearts, and that is all we need. It’s the passion of the fans that helps to win matches.
At the time this was said about Chelsea and Jose Mourinho but it reminds me of Liverpool’s current opposition for the Premier League.
Yes, they do have quality footballers, so do we. Yes, they do have a quality manager, so do we. But we have our fans, and sometimes we need to remember that ourselves.