Ask The Fans: Fortress Anfield, How Does It Feel?

Liverpool are unbeaten in a whopping 52 consecutive Premier League home games
12:00, 01 Feb 2020

Liverpool are one player short of fielding a current XI that can boast to never have been beaten at Anfield.

Granted this would have to mean playing backup goalkeeper Adrián somewhere in defence. To be fair, the way Jürgen Klopp has got this Reds side ticking, the Spaniard will probably be up to the task. 

Number One Alisson Becker, record-signing Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson, Fabinho, Alex, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri, and goal gluttons Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah have yet to taste defeat at Anfield: the list makes for quite the reading.

52 straight Premier League home games undefeated is a simply astounding record for any side in Europe.

Salah can even take the record back further, to his days as a Chelsea player and to the chagrin of the side he would join three years later. The Egyptian helped to produce a 2-0 win as Brendan Rodgers’ Reds title-challenge memorably collapsed at the tail-end of the 2013/14 season. 

Furthermore, the 27-year-old forward has now won 30 Premier League games in a row in the Reds set-up. He especially thrives on Merseyside: all but two of his 12 goals this season have come at Anfield.

Season-ticket holder Paul Machin of Redmen TV has been attending Liverpool matches since 1989 and explains that this consistent winning ethos is something that he has never personally witnessed in his three decades of attendance. Liverpool are now undefeated in the Premier League since a 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace on 23rd April 2017: that’s a streak running across 52 games. They’ve won their last 19 in a row.

“I think we’re at a point now of wondering with this Liverpool side as to what happens when Liverpool eventually loses,” Machin tells The Sportsman.

“We did use to lose all the time! Of course, during that run we have lost at home in both the Champions League and Carabao Cup. I have never seen this supreme mentality from a Liverpool team before. This team is made of something else.”

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Liverpool, after narrowly being beaten to their first-ever Premier League title by Manchester City last season, are smugly nestled atop the EPL tree, separated by a humongous 19 points from the nearest challenger, the defending champions having enjoyed an unblemished campaign after 24 gameweeks. Home or away, there has been a prevailing debate as to how Liverpool could recuperate if that first defeat is forthcoming, though the cushion is the softest and squishiest it has ever been for the club.

“Given the lead Liverpool have established at the top of the league, they’ve probably earned the right to have a little blip. You just back them to pick themselves up again,” concedes Machin

TheAnfieldWrap writer Gareth Roberts concurs, to an extent, he told The Sportsman:

“We’ve waited a long time for Liverpool to be this good and I’d love it to last as long as it possibly can. So I’m definitely not thinking about blips or anything other than victories when I go to Anfield right now. Of course, the time will come when The Reds draw a match, or even, God forbid, lose one. But in the meantime, there should be a swagger about everything Liverpool; from the players and from the fans. I think the undefeated run at Anfield, and the string of victories, helps to strike a psychological blow before a ball is kicked. Imagine facing this Liverpool side knowing how long it had been since it tasted a league defeat at Anfield. Coming on for three years is ridiculous and to reach that landmark would be fantastic.”

Klopp, who has been at the helm since October 2015, has the best winning percentage of any manager in Liverpool’s history (61.54%), better even than Kenny Dalglish’s trophy-laden glory days as player/gaffer in the ‘80s and the last time Liverpool won the league title. Roy Evans, Gerard Houllier, Rafael Benítez, Roy Hodgson, Dalglish Deux, and Brendan Rodgers all failed to bring the title back to the red half of Merseyside over the subsequent decades. 

“The Anfield crowd has always tried to lift teams regardless,” says Roberts, “but now we’re genuinely watching one of the best incarnations of Liverpool FC in the club’s history. Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benítez are both fondly remembered for the silverware they brought to Anfield, Brendan Rodgers took us on a rollercoaster ride that almost resulted in glory, but this is another level of performance.”

For Machin, the emotion as a fan walking up to Anfield, despite the magnitude of their most recent successes under Klopp, has been unabating.

“The feeling never changes. Maybe ever so slightly in the Hodgson era. Maybe that was the one time it didn’t quite feel like ‘Liverpool’.

“Today, it’s probably the most harmonious it has been but you do feel like a little kid every time you go.

“What we have now is a genuine feeling that anything is possible. It feels like living in the stories that my dad used to recite when I was growing up. Like we’ve travelled back in time to experience all those things that he told me about.

“It’s a very good time to be going to Anfield.”

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There’s the perpetual feeling around the club and to observers that going behind doesn’t derail Liverpool’s incentive to win: the feeling is that victory will come. This really was the case in games such as Newcastle, Leicester and Spurs.

For Machin, it was actually an away game, at Aston Villa, that set the tone for Liverpool’s mercilessness. Liverpool used the last three minutes from being a goal down to the Midlands club to reverse the result, with Andrew Robertson and Sadio Mané striking in the dying embers of the match.

“That was the game. Liverpool knew. They believed in themselves and we believed in them: as long as there’s a minute to be played, we’ll fight.”

With victory away at the London Stadium over West Ham United, Liverpool have beaten every team they’ve faced in the Premier League this season, the first time they’ve ever managed to do so in a top-flight campaign. Heading into February, they’ve also won more league matches than the legendary Manchester United Treble-winning side of 1998/99.

Stevie G wondered how he never acquired a Premier League winners medal but, thanks to Klopp and his merry mob of magnificent Merseyside marauders, Liverpool’s 19th top-flight title is now all but signed, sealed, and delivered: time to simply relax, stretch out and enjoy those ceaselessly victorious moments at Anfield.

“Liverpool as a city has always had spirit and the stomach for a fight and supporters want to see a team that plays in the same way,” says Roberts, “We’ve got that now. Klopp made it known from day one that he wanted the supporters on board and wanted fans to play their part. Think back to that 2-2 draw with West Brom (in December 2015) when he ushered the players over to The Kop to say thanks for the support.

“It was ridiculed at the time. 

“But who’s laughing now?”

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