The match against Manchester United always draws not only the fans, but the former players and famous faces. Arguably the biggest match of the season, it’s not only a good one to attend, but a good one to be seen at. This week was no exception, especially with the added distinction of commemorating the new Kenny Dalglish Stand (formerly the renovated Main Stand) before the match. Steven Gerrard was spotted, as well as Sir Alex Ferguson and actor Nick Blood, but it was Xabi Alonso who made a return to Anfield for the special trip.
The Spanish midfielder recently retired from football at the end of last season, leaving a sparkling career that ended with time at Bayern Munich. Now that he has some time off, he’s able to take a few more trips - much to the joy of his son.
"My son is desperate to go. He’s Liverpool born and always asks: ‘Dad. when are we going to Liverpool?’” Alonso told the club before Saturday’s match. "I say: ‘Okay, but at the moment I have busy weekends! We will go, don’t worry.’
"When I was playing I didn't have many weekends off, but now I'm enjoying my time off and [there is no game] bigger than this.
"It's different but it's excitement in a different way. You can see that everyone is a bit nervous and looking forward to a big game."
Xabi has always been candid about his love of the city and the club and spoke often about how eager he was to return. He even came back recently to be part of Steven Gerrard’s induction into the Football Hall of Fame, speaking with Jamie Carragher at the ceremony.
"Liverpool is still a big part of my life and always will be,” Alonso continued. “If you are in the bar, they offer to get you a pint. They want you to feel welcome. I felt that from the very beginning.
"It's a great chance to come.”
While his midfield mastery is surely missed on the pitch, any chance to see his face at Anfield is a good one.