Anfield has a reputation. Although in recent years the run-of-the-mill evening at the revered stadium rarely lives up to its billing — and like most big club venues is often victim of the devastatingly original and clever “is this a library” chant from the away end — it has seen some absolutely historic nights, and The Kop in full voice remains a life-altering experience. Jürgen Klopp got a taste of that when his side hosted his former club Borussia Dortmund in last year’s Europa League quarter final, an occasion on which the Reds clawed back from a two-goal deficit to score a dramatic 4-3 win in injury time. The feeling on the night was that it could not have happened anywhere else.
It might not carry the same weight as an Europa League knock-out round against a German giant, but if their first-leg performance at St Mary’s was anything to go by, Liverpool are going to need their fans behind them to turn the tie around. Newly reinstated goalkeeper Loris Karius agrees.
“We didn’t create that many chances,” admitted the German stopper. “In the last game in the league against them, it ended 0-0 but we had a lot more clear chances that we missed.
“This time we didn’t really get through – they defended really well and had some counter-attacks that really hurt us. 1-0 is not the result we were aiming for, but there’s still everything in it for the second leg.
“As I said, it’s not the ideal result,” he continued. “But we’re still confident we can turn it around. With our fans, we will make it as difficult as we can for them. If we could score an early goal, that would be good. We’ll see how the game goes, but it’s going to be really tough for them.”
Karius was quite inspiring in the first leg himself, single-handedly keeping the Reds in the tie on several occasions when left isolated with an opposition striker. Without his impressive performance, Southampton could very well have been four goals to the good, effectively ending the contest in the first frame. Karius will hope his performance has earned him continued starts in the side, and that the return of Joël Matip and Jordan Henderson will be enough to give him an idler night at Anfield.
If they were to manage that at Old Trafford on Sunday too, all the better.