Much has been said about the redevelopment of Anfield's Main Stand, and the part it is expected to play in Liverpool's campaign this season. As far as inanimate objects go, the Main Stand put in a pretty decent debut performance, serving as the stage for Liverpool's comprehensive 4-1 victory over league champions Leicester City.
It was a significant enough of a facelift that manager Jürgen Klopp felt compelled to schedule a midweek re-introduction between his players and their refurbished home. Klopp's concerns that the players would be "shocked" by the changes eventually proved unfounded, as the squad, spurred on by the larger crowd, sauntered to what was eventually a comfortable win.
Liverpool's players, believe it or not, had a part to play in the match yesterday as well, though many of the key individuals involved were quick to credit others for the impressive display. Goalscorer Adam Lallana identified both the revitalized Anfield as well as the interplay of his fellow attackers for what was a good afternoon of work by him:
We definitely felt it. That whole stand felt completely different – it almost made the pitch feel bigger at times. It was definitely noisier and we have to use that as a positive for ourselves going forward this season.
It feels good. We’ve got world-class players out there and irrelevant of what position you’re in, as long as you’re working hard for each other and creating chances, that’s what feels good.
New kid on the block Sadio Mané, likewise a goalscorer on the day, echoed the sentiments of his English partner-in-crime. To say that Mané has had a quick start to his Liverpool career would be something of an understatement. He has featured in just three league matches with the club, but the mere rumor of an injury to Mané provokes widespread panic and despair among supporters.
Like Lallana, Mané tipped his hat to his colleagues and to the crowd for yet another buzzing, threat-filled display:
I think it was easy for me to adapt my football to them because they are very, very fantastic footballers so it was easy for me to play with them. I'm happy for that.
I think [the new Main Stand] played a very good part for us, they helped us through the difficult times. We are very happy with that and I think they'll help us until the end of the season.
Well, hopefully it goes far beyond the end of the season, but we get the point, Sadio. The next league visitors to Anfield will be Mike Phelan’s Hull City. Maybe Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi will get a chance to take the stage from the opening whistle then.