Liverpool vs. Bayern Munich. It’s the headlining tie of the Round of 16 in the Champions League. Liverpool are level on points at the top of the Premier League table. Bayern, after a stumbling start, have closed the gap to three in Germany. There is no clear favourite.
With the first leg at Anfield, though, Jürgen Klopp believes that the crowd will have a role to play in setting the tone—for the game ahead and, with it, perhaps for the entire tie—with their emotion, an emotion that feeds both into and off of the players out on the pitch.
“In Germany, a lot of people were talking now about the atmosphere in Anfield,” he said. “They were talking about that we are maybe the most emotional club in world football. Emotion, in my opinion, is a very positive thing so let’s show that tomorrow night.
“Let’s make it a very emotional place, let’s make it a very lively place, on the pitch and in the stands. And let’s enjoy that game together. It’s a tough one, against a really strong and very experienced team, but we are strong as well and that’s what we have to show.”
Liverpool fans have seen it often enough through the years. European nights at Anfield and the impact the home supporters can have on a game and opponent—seemingly regardless of whether that opponent comes into the match respecting it or skeptical of it.
Klopp has seen it first hand, too, in his two European campaigns now at the club, in games against Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City and Roma. Now, against Bayern, they have the chance to do it once again, to help push the Reds past a very strong opponent.
“A lot of players from other teams always say, ‘Oh, it’s really, really good, I’m looking forward to going there,’ and it’s true,” Klopp added. “It’s something to enjoy. But on the other side, there’s a lot of power involved in that, and I’ve experienced it now a couple of times.
“Our crowd is really able to push it from 100 to 120, 30, 40 percent. I never would have thought that that’s possible but it happens here from time to time—and hopefully again.”