For the most part, Liverpool’s final home game of the 2015-16 season was a tepid affair. Never mind that it was Chelsea they were facing, or that a top five finish remained mathematically possible, for most of the players and fans it appeared their minds were already on next Wednesday’s Europa League final.
Still, in the end the home side rallied, pushing hard in the dying minutes to earn an equalising goal and a point that may not make a great deal of difference in the final table, but did at least allow the players to exit Anfield for a final time this season with their heads held high. It’s the sort of late push the team has become known for.
“The manager said it earlier on in the season,” said James Milner. “When we are losing late in games, making [the fans] believe we’ll get a goal and get back in the game. We can make this a fortress and our performances will ultimately do that. If we can make this a horrible place to play, ourselves and the fans, it’s a massive plus.”
Wednesday night’s Chelsea match may not have been the most exciting game to grace Anfield in recent weeks, and it certainly paled in comparison to Europa League ties against Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund, and Villarreal. Still, towards the end there was a very real sense of belief that the team could get back in the game.
Towards the end, despite the largely tepid early play, things began to liven up and the crowd began to find its voice. The game, taken as a whole, may not have been the greatest, and the result may not change much, but it was at least another sign that this is a team and fanbase growing in belief under manager Jürgen Klopp.
"We're disappointed not to win,” Milner added. “We know we can play better than we did. We showed in patches what we can do, but I think we were maybe a yard or two off it tonight for whatever reason. It's disappointing, but we've shown that character again to keep going to the end to get a point, so that was important.
"We showed nice touches at times but maybe didn't put together a complete performance like we'd like, but we kept going and managed to get a point against a good team."