Thanks to renovations on the main stand at Anfield, Liverpool spent the first month of 2016-17 playing on the road. Arsenal, Burnley, and Tottenham in the league have all been played on the road after Burnley agreed to swap home matches—a move that paid off for the Brewers to the tune of a 2-0 victory. Burton Albion in the EFL Cup was on the road.
Now, a week into September, Liverpool finally get their home debut. And for a few Liverpool players, it’s going to be the first time they play at Anfield as Liverpool players. For Joël Matip, it’s going to be his first time at Anfield, full stop. And the defender, who joined from Schalke on a free transfer over the summer, says he’s really looking forward to it.
"I've been waiting the whole pre-season to make my first steps at the stadium," Matip told the club’s official website. "I think Liverpool is famous for its stadium, for its atmosphere. It will be a great atmosphere and I'll be happy when I can play there. To hear 'You'll Never Walk Alone' for the first time at the stadium will be a special moment and I will enjoy it."
Matip, who turned 25 in August, spent the last seven seasons as a senior player at Scahlke, where he came up through the youth ranks. He spent the past six a mainstay for the club, and though he has represented Cameroon at the past two World Cups, he has so far chosen not to represent the national team at the AFCON in order to focus on his club career.
"At Dortmund I like [hearing YNWA],” the German-born defender added. “You can compare them a little bit to Liverpool but it's not the same. Dortmund, sometimes they sing, but they're not really famous for this, Liverpool is famous for this song and the atmosphere at the stadium. It will be something else. It's a nice song and with the atmosphere, it will be good to hear."
Saturday was also meant to be a first Anfield start for new goalkeeper Loris Karius, though the hand injury that kept him out of the first month of the season is likely to stop him starting. However, the German goalkeeper is well ahead of schedule and could be fit enough to make the bench as an emergency option.