Liverpool are currently second in the league and will get to celebrate Christmas in first place if they beat Arsenal on the weekend. They’re into the knockout rounds of the Europa League. And they’re into the semi final of the League Cup.
Despite that, at times it’s been noticeable this season that Anfield has felt a little flat. Compared to past seasons, at least. The Kop has more often than not been its usual and quite boisterous self—but the atmosphere on the whole hasn’t been its vintage best.
“In the first half a little bit, when the boys were playing exceptional, I was not overly happy with the atmosphere behind me,” Klopp said following Wednesday’s 5-1 victory over West Ham. “I have to say, I asked people, what do you want?
“So we change a lot of things, we dominate West Ham like crazy. If I would be in the stands I would be on my toes, 1,000%. I don’t know if the Manchester United game was that bad we had to say sorry we didn’t smash them, but we need Anfield on Saturday.”
As when Anfield’s atmosphere has come up before, some will argue if it’s tourists more interested in selfies than singing or locals who’ve held tickets for decades and perhaps now struggle to bring the same passion every week who are to blame.
There will also be questions asked as to whether the club are damaging the atmosphere by heavily policing standing outside the Kop, removing banners that have hung in the main stand for years, and making it difficult for fans to pass their tickets on.
This isn’t the first time over the years Klopp has asked Anfield to rediscover its lost voice, though, and while some conversations around the root causes may be necessary in the longer term, for now all that matters is the reaction.
“Arsenal didn’t play this week, they prepare for this game and anyone who knows about them knows they will be prepared,” Klopp added. “So we need Anfield on their toes from the first second without me having an argument with the opposition coach or whatever.
“We need you from the first second. If it is too much football in December, I’m sorry, we have to play as well. If you are not in the right shape, give your ticket to somebody else. It’s not negativity, it’s just not the excitement I felt the performance deserved.
“There were so many good performances [against West Ham] but we were only 1-0 up. We had so many challenges, things to be celebrated. We had a lot of chances. But if it is just the warming up for Saturday then I will be happy.”