Following a tough loss to Crystal Palace at Anfield, a game in which Liverpool had been the better side yet the manager had watched disheartened fans trudge towards the exits down a goal and with ten minutes still to go, Jürgen Klopp made a bold decision. He decided to challenge the fans; to challenge the Kop. Stay until the end, he said. Sing until the end; support until the end.
Do that, he said, and it can help the team to do its part on the pitch. It can help when Liverpool are behind and looking for an equaliser or level and looking for the win. And so, against West Bromwich Albion, the fans stayed. The fans sand and they supported. It was by far the loudest Anfield has been in more than a year, and it was clear that noise had a positive impact on the players. That it played a role in Liverpool pulling level.
"The crowd kept with us," said captain Jordan Henderson of the improved atmosphere and the reasoning behind the players going to thank them following the match. "Even when we were getting beat, they kept us going and we managed to get the equaliser. I thought we were going to drag ourselves over the line for the winner. We’re trying to create that atmosphere here even more so and the fans were brilliant. We’ve got to keep that going."
A few sour sorts have responded by completely missing the obvious point. Rather than seeing the decision to thank the fans for their support—and by doing so to hopefully encourage the fans at Anfield even further—as an action rooted in Klopp’s earlier challenge following the Palace match, a few professional malcontents have chosen to interpret the post-match actions as celebration of a mid-season draw against a mid-table side.
For most Liverpool fans, there was never any doubt as to why Klopp and the players did what they did at the end of the West Brom match. And the hope for all—for the fans and players and manager alike—will be that the next time, Anfield will be even louder. That the voices of the supporters will be raised earlier. That the next time the fans are needed, with their help the result will be a win and three points rather than a draw and one.
"Overall, we’re disappointed we haven’t won the game," added Henderson. "It was a game we should be winning at home and we didn’t do that. But at the same time, we kept going right until the end. We managed to get the equaliser and kept pushing for a winner, but just couldn’t get it over the line."