Liverpool and Chelsea. North and South. Left and right. Red and Blue. And, once again renewing hostilities over a football match of oversized importance.
The fact that today’s match is of such importance is surprising, given the fact that it’s just the third of 38 matches. However, it’s not a stretch to say that the 2021/22 Premier League champions will likely be playing at Anfield today. And if a side manages to capture all three points today, that side will have a huge, albeit early, advantage in the title race.
Luckily for Liverpool, the match is at Anfield. And unlike the last time Chelsea visited Anfield and managed to get a 1-0 win, this one will be filled to the brim with absolutely rabid Scousers.
Under Klopp, Anfield with fans has been a practically impenetrable fortress, one which everyone in Red is invested in reestablishing post lockdown.
Captain Jordan Henderson could feel the difference between Anfield with fans and without in the team performance last week against Burnley, and is hoping for another top performance from the Kopites.
“Feeling that support against Burnley was massive and it really did make a difference,” Hendo said in the matchday program. “At times, we may actually have got a bit too excited by it because it had been so long since we played in front of so many passionate Liverpudlians.
“At the start of the game it was hard to hear ourselves think, never mind pick up whatever instructions we were shouting to one another, but that is exactly the way we want it to be. That’s how we want Anfield to be every time.
“The manager said afterwards his favourite moment was the roar that greeted kick-off and when I heard that, I knew exactly what he meant and why he said it. We missed such moments so much in the last year-and-a-half.”
It was special to hear the fans cheering every tackle, counterattack, and goal, and of course giving out to the referee (who, per usual, thoroughly deserved the abuse). Hopefully last week was just a warm up for Chelsea. The captain certainly expects as much, at minimum.
“I’ve no doubt that today will be exactly the same. Chelsea are never anything other than a top-class opponent and they arrive at Anfield as European champions, so it goes without saying that everyone who bleeds Liverpool red will need to bring their A-game.
“Thankfully, if there is a venue in world football that is made for days like this, it is Anfield so we will embrace the challenge armed with the knowledge of what we can achieve when players and supporters are together.”
Liverpool will have to be brave today; Chelsea are a dangerous and well organized team. But Anfield can make a difference today. A win could put some much-needed daylight between two of the biggest rivals for the title, and send a message to the league that Klopp’s Liverpool, and Anfield, are back.