Many teams used to fear travelling to Anfield to take on the mighty Reds of Liverpool. In recent years, that fear of walking down the tunnel past the “This is Anfield” sign have waned, despite a brief revival in the 2013/14 season under Brendan Rodgers. Now, with a new stand in place, Jurgen Klopp is returning the Liverpool stadium to its’ rightful position as one of the most feared grounds in the country, as the Reds have lost just once in their last 14 Premier League games at their home ground since the German’s arrival.
The sole defeat at the ground gives some indication as to how Klopp has achieved this feat. The 1-0 defeat to Manchester United in January was the only game in which Liverpool have failed to score at Anfield under the former Dortmund manager, a rare occurrence with a side which, particularly after summer additions were made, bases its’ style around free-flowing and quick attacking football. With an average of two goals a game at home under Klopp in the Premier League, there is certainly no shortage of entertainment on show.
With Sadio Mane’s pace and trickery alongside the skill of Philippe Coutinho and a whole host of central options, with Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge dominating the game time so far this season, the Reds have a clinical side to their attack which ensures that they go into every game believing that they will outscore the opposition.
However, Klopp is now also working to improve his defence. With Joel Matip in central defence alongside Dejan Lovren, and James Milner looking solid and reliable at left-back, the Liverpool defence finally looks assured and confident for the first time since the days of Rafa Benitez in the Anfield dugout.
Since Klopp’s arrival, there have been home clean sheets in fixtures against Everton and Manchester City in two of the biggest home fixtures since the German truly got started, alongside other more expected shut outs against the likes of Watford. This season, Klopp will expect to see that more often as his defence gain experience playing alongside each other, with only Lucas Leiva’s error gifting Jamie Vardy a goal to score a consolation goal for Leicester City in the opening home game of the season.
However, with six of the fourteen games played at Anfield under Klopp having ended as a draw, the objective now will be to turn those single points into three points more regularly. Liverpool have proven to have the quality, and they must now show the cutting edge that was so sorely lacking at times last season, particularly under Brendan Rodgers. If just some of those draws can be turned into victories, then the Reds may be able to mount a title challenge for the first time since 2014.
If Klopp can make Anfield what it once was, and what Jose Mourinho made Stamford Bridge in his first spell at Chelsea more recently, then it will go a long way to helping the Reds to return to Champions League football at the very least.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Steve Mcmetha.