It’s hard to think of a manager with a better relationship with their home crowd than Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool – but there has been the occasional match were the German has sent a message to those attending at Anfield.
On this day in 2016, Klopp needed to urge the home support to be heard as his team struggled to break down the ‘most defensive side’ he had ever seen.
After watching star man Philippe Coutinho get stretchered off with a nasty looking ankle injury in the second half, Divock Origi came on to the field to do what Liverpool fans became so used to watching over the years as the Belgian rescued the Reds against Sunderland.
Something that became apparent to Klopp once he arrived on Merseyside in October 2015 was that the Anfield crowd had grown restless and frustrated at what they had been witnessing for years.
You have to change from a doubter to a believer. We have to start together new,” Klopp said in his first press conference as Liverpool boss. Anfield was doubting again as the second half drew on six years ago – and Klopp was having none of it.
The Independent wrote in their match report: “At 0-0, Anfield was quiet until Klopp twice flew into a rage, screaming at supporters to raise the level of noise. What followed was two goals from Divock Origi and James Milner.
“Later, with the result settled in his favour, it would be understandable if Klopp was drained. He was also involved in touchline arguments with David Moyes and his assistant, Paul Bracewell. Some managers coldly deploy tactics to try and achieve their aims.
“Klopp uses emotion to shake the buttresses of entire stadiums. It was significant that more than one Liverpool fan website proposed Klopp as an option for the man of the match award on Saturday night because it shows he is getting somewhere when he says things like, ‘We all need to handle situations like this. I believe in atmosphere. I think it’s a big part of the game.’
“Klopp, indeed, has identified many problems at Liverpool and has not been afraid to challenge them, even if they are accepted norms considered widely as positives: like the one about the Anfield crowd being the most vociferous in the country when really it only applies on special occasions.
Watching on in the stands were some famous faces, with the Guardian reporting: “The crowd here included the recently retired Steven Gerrard, the Liverpool owner, John W Henry, the chairman, Tom Werner, and several former schoolfriends of Jürgen Klopp invited over from Germany.”
Since that match, Klopp has harnessed the power of the Anfield crowd many times – the comeback against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final springs to mind as the most memorable.
Liverpool’s success in recent years isn’t just down to Klopp and the talented bunch of players he has at his disposal, but also the power of Anfield being able to overcome any obscurity. The Reds may well need that force again as this season progresses.