Liverpool and the club’s fans have an extra long wait for the return of club football, with their match against rivals Manchester United set for Monday evening under the lights at Anfield. The opponent, though, does at least somewhat make up for the added wait.
And the opponent should make for a must-watch match, which manager Jürgen Klopp is looking forward to just like the fans and that has the Liverpool manager thinking back to a couple of night games against United that took place during last season’s Europa League run.
“Those Europa League games were really nice,” said Klopp, who believes the setting can make a difference this year, just as it did in the spring. “Both games were intense and competitive. We were better in the first game at Anfield. We had a fantastic atmosphere and the players were inspired by that.
“It was my first time at Old Trafford for the second leg. Maybe people don’t like to hear it, but there was actually quite a good atmosphere there too! It was real proof of what an atmosphere can do. United were on top but we killed that atmosphere with Philippe’s wonderful goal. From then on it wasn’t that difficult.”
The Anfield crowd, then, can certainly make a difference. But it will be up to Liverpool’s players to capitalise on it and to make sure United don’t get the chance to undermine it. Early on at least, Liverpool will have an advantage—they just need to harness it.
If they can, then they will be assured of going into the next round of matches still in the top four. They will also be six points ahead of United with the season nearly a quarter of the way through. Just as it was for the Europa League last season, the atmosphere should be fantastic.