One of the many images ingrained in Liverpool Football Club’s mythos is the the effect of an Anfield packed to the gills with full-throated and devoted Reds. Those magical Anfield Nights™ are often bandied about by older fans who saw many such nights with regularity. Newer fans - such as we poor and dejected Children of the Hodgepocalypse - have only had a handful of opportunities to truly see what Anfield like that might be.
Thanks to Jurgen Klopp’s masterwork on the field and the increasingly impressive work of Michael Edwards off of it, there is a sense that Anfield can and should expect to be back to those wild nights in the here and now. And for the past year or so, that’s most certainly held true, with the pre-match shots of the Kop during Champions League matches evoking the photographs from the era of Liverpool’s famed European Nights of yore.
With the recent dip in results, though, the sense of anxiety around Liverpool fandom has been palpable. To the point that supporters groups are rallying themselves to try and exert that extra bit of influence that might prove to be the x-factor in scratching enough points to remain top of the table come the end of the season.
Some may look at all of this as a bit of superstitious hooey, and, of course, fans cannot kick the ball or stand in front of goal to influence the play in such a direct manner. But there is most certainly something to say about a crowd so loud and boisterous in their support that it puts the other team on its heels and adds a spring in the step of the Reds. David Peace wrote extensively about the influence of the Anfield crowd during the era of Bill Shankly and many players have gone on record to indicate the influence of crowd support.
In an interview with the official site, Adam Lallana joined his voice to that chorus of players that speak positively of the effects of a strong show from the Anfield faithful.
“It’s probably not just us [the fans] can have an impact on, it’s probably the opponents too. I’ve played at grounds where it can feel intimidating and the noise is that loud and they’re getting behind the home team. Although I never came here many times as an away player, [the atmosphere] can have a negative effect on the opposition. As well as helping the players out, it probably has an adverse effect on the opponents.”
This assessment jives with other accounts that spoke to the mystifying aura surrounding Anfield. One that gave off the impression that it was, indeed, a fortress. This season, that same sense at Anfield is back with club having only lost once at home in this campaign. Here’s hoping that the crowd can inject a bit of life into the squad to help them grab the full three points and return Liverpool back to their place atop the Premier League table.