by Ernie Fox
I don’t believe I’ve ever experienced such enthusiasm for an upcoming Europa League fixture as I am currently feeling right now. But this Thursday will mark Jurgen Klopp’s Anfield debut as Liverpool manager and the place will be buzzing.
There were a number of positives that can be taken from the performance against Spurs on Saturday, it was an impressive start considering the extensive injury list that saw the likes of Firmino, Sturridge and Benteke all miss out. However, it will take a lot longer than a week for us to see any significant changes in how the team plays as Klopp asserts himself on the squad.
Against Spurs we were still reliant on an excellent goalkeeping display from Mingolet after some fairly straight forward defensive blunders with Skrtel being the main culprit. We also failed to find the back of the net with Origi the only one able to really threaten the opposition goal with anything more substantial than just a hopeful punt from outside of the area.
All in all, there was a good work rate and high pressing, which we all expected following the German’s arrival, but we still lacked that level of quality that would have been the difference between the two sides. It’s a quality that has been missing ever since Luis Suarez left for the sunny shores of Spain and something that eventually cost Rodgers his job this season; we can’t necessarily be surprised that this will take a little longer for Klopp to find.
Where I expect to see a significant change is on Thursday night. The Kop has missed something to cheer about for too long, it has been far too quiet in recent times, and a lot of that comes down to the football that was being played on the pitch at the end of Rodgers’ reign. The one thing Klopp has been able to do almost immediately is create a feeling of excitement and belief around the club once more, add to that a European night at Anfield – albeit the Europa League – and Thursday night promises to be electric.
When the Kop is swinging, goals almost score themselves and I expect this Thursday to demonstrate just how much of a difference our dynamic new leader has made in his short time at the club. So many times we have seen the Liverpool players revel in a lively and vibrant Anfield atmosphere, and likewise the fans relish a fast paced, attacking style of football to enthuse their appetites; it is almost symbiotic how the two (the fans and players) function feeding off one another.
Thursday evenings might not usually have the same commercial appeal as the Champions League, but I genuinely anticipate the match this week to be an exception to that rule. I can’t wait to see Klopp lead a Liverpool side at Anfield, passing under the “This is Anfield” sign and out to the sound of 40,000 voices singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
If there are any doubters wants to see what Klopp can bring to the club, then Thursday night will give a great example.
Written by Ernie Fox