Oh, those European nights at Anfield. They truly never get old.
It had been 553 days since Liverpool supporters had last welcomed a Champions League opponent to the Thunderdome that is Anfield in the flesh. From the first whistle, of yesterday’s opening Group B match between AC Milan and Liverpool, the visitors quickly realized that they were to be on the receiving end of 18 months of pent-up energy of that special variety reserved for opponents from the continent.
Attacking the Kop in the opening period, the crowd was determined to suck the better part of three or four goals into the back of the net but for wasteful finishing.
Briefly subdued after going down 2-1 to a quickfire Rossoneri flurry of goals, the roof came off the stadium in the second half after the Reds fought back through a strike from Mohamed Salah and a stunning winner from Jordan Henderson.
For the uninitiated, it was an atmosphere that was truly indescribable: “I have to say, I have never heard, well actually I have just heard a noise like that,” Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel said speaking to CBS Sports from the grounds in awe after the game.
“But I haven’t heard an atmosphere like when Salah scored that second goal. It was just unbelievable.
“We were talking about the big nights at Anfield, well they delivered. The crowd here was magnificent. That, in itself, was an experience for me.”
AC Milan captain Davide Calabria was equally as bewildered, admitting that his side were wholly unprepared for the heavy metal football the crowd demanded:
“The atmosphere here is incredible,“ Calabria said speaking to Sky Italia
“Liverpool started really strong, you can see they are accustomed to a different tempo and are one of the best teams in the world, with formidable players in every area,” he reportedly told Sky Italia.
“In an atmosphere like this, the first time Milan were in the Champions League for seven years and the first time many of us were in the Champions League, against one of the best teams in the world, I’d say we did really well to turn it around and score two goals here.
“It was a difficult match and almost like several games in one. We didn’t feel afraid, we were just struggling to get a grip on the situation.”
The performance from the crowd will have put the rest of Group B on notice, with Atletico Madrid, the side who knocked the Reds out of the round-of-16 in last year’s competition, the next opponent in line to receive a raucous Anfield welcome when they visit on November 3rd.