When PSG was knocked out by Barcelona after leading the first leg 4-0, we shouldn’t be surprised and similarly, when Liverpool had knocked out Barcelona after trailing by 3-0 in the first leg, we shouldn’t be surprised either. Barcelona in Camp Nou had created some kind of belief that they can overturn any kind of defeat that they had suffered in the first leg similarly Liverpool too had some kind of belief and aura about them that they can overturn any result when the return leg is in Anfield. On the 4 occasions where Liverpool had played the semi-final second leg in Anfield, they had progressed to the final. The four occasions are the 2001 UEFA Cup Semi Final against Barcelona, 2005 Semi-Final against Chelsea, 2007 also against Chelsea, and finally in 2019 against Barcelona.
Before the Liverpool team and the opposing team enter the field, they are the famous sign off “This is Anfield”. This sign was fixed by the late Bill Shankly in order to intimidate the opponent, especially in the crucial knockout stages game. Another thing is what is called as Kop End in Liverpool with will portray a big banner to intimidate the opposing team and shows that they are not a pushover for any team in Anfield. Arsene Wenger the former Arsenal manager had mentioned in the interview with Bein Sports that even though once Liverpool is not doing well in the Premier League, but they can put up a great performance in Europe the reason is Anfield.
In the domestic league, the Anfield might not be the fortress as they had suffered some memorable defeat like against Arsenal in league title decider in 1989, Manchester United last-minute winner in the 1999 FA Cup quarter-final and also in the 2007 league game , and the most damaging defeat among them is the loss to Chelsea in 2014 that led their hope of the league title crumbled in the final 2 games. In the domestic league, Anfield is not the fortress for the opposing team but in the European games especially the knockout stages or deciding group stage, Liverpool always managed to get the result they had wanted to progress to the next round. They are many reasons why Anfield is an intimidating atmosphere for the opposing team in European games.
When we are watching the game on the television, we can hear how loud the noise level in Anfield and one can imagine how loud it will be in the playing field for the opposing team. Each passing by the opposing team will be booed and when Liverpool start to attack the noise level in the stadium will be at the highest to motivate the team. The opposing team will really be intimated and having a hard time, and this can disrupt their player which can lead to a disaster for them. This is what happened to Barcelona, they had been intimated, and their playing had been disrupted and added with the successful Liverpool hard pressing that leads to the cheer from the crowd.
Some atmosphere can influence the referee too. Jose Mourinho until now will say that the goal that Liverpool scored in the 2005 semi-final was scored by the crowd. The loud atmosphere can influence the referee too. Similarly, the intelligent corner taken by Liverpool that led to Origi scored the aggregate leading 4th goal may have disallowed by another referee in the different stadium but again the crowd noise had influenced the decision.
Speaking about the loud atmosphere, they are an interesting fact on this. Anfield is not the largest stadium in the UK, the honor of the largest stadium goes to Wembley Stadium but it had the loudest noise level where it is at 97 decibels, the loudest home support in England. Maybe the noise level decibel can go higher when Liverpool is in the crucial game like the UCL knockout stages. With this noise level, Liverpool players will be motivated, opposing team playing style will get disrupted and the referee can be influenced too.
The noise level that generated will gift the Liverpool players a great motivation and this is where Liverpool will play at the maximum level. The high intensity pressing seen in Barcelona game was the result of the crowd support and this had led to Jurgen Klopp mentioned Anfield supporter as the 12th man in the stadium. The crowd atmosphere and the noise level are one of the reason that helped Liverpool to stage a dramatic comeback in the tie against Borussia Dortmund in 2013 UEFA Europe League
The noise level and the atmosphere had led to many opposing managers to never write off Liverpool especially in the semi-final of European competition when the second leg is in Anfield. Anfield is the fortress for opposing team and at some time giving Liverpool team a confidence booster that they can overcome any challenge no matter how great it is. Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger, Fabio Capello, and some well know manager had fallen in the great atmosphere.
With Liverpool in the terrific form under Jurgen Klopp, the fortress of Anfield will continue for a long time to come. Even the worst of Liverpool team can perform well in Anfield and the best of Liverpool can produce a magical performance that is needed for them to progress to the next round. Barcelona in the first leg had defeated Liverpool with a 3-0 and looked like confirmed their place in the final and the second leg look just like a formality but in Anfield, Liverpool had produced a stunning comeback and beat Barcelona 4-0 to progress to final and now they are the favorites to win the final and lift their 6th European trophy.
With Jurgen Klopp expected to stay in Liverpool for more years to come and strengthen Liverpool again in the next summer, the Anfield fortress will live on and will become the intimating atmosphere and any team can fall for this atmosphere and crumble to the might of Anfield that can inspire Liverpool to put on a great performance that will be historic and memorable.
This is Anfield will live on.