Anfield, the home of Liverpool Football Club, has long been known for its electric atmosphere and passionate fans. This atmosphere has played a crucial role in Liverpool’s recent success, both on and off the field.
It may have been the original home of their neighbours Everton, but since 1892, the Reds have been at home in the heart of Liverpool. Over the decades, it has seen some of the best teams in world football call it home – from Shankley to Paisley and now Jurgen Klopp, some of the best players and coaches have graced the Anfield turf.
But what makes Anfield special is the fans that make their way from all corners of the globe to sing, chant and praise the men in red.
Impact inside the ground
On the field, the Anfield atmosphere creates a formidable advantage for the team. Opposing teams often struggle to play their best in the face of the loud and passionate Liverpool fans. The energy from the crowd can also inspire the Liverpool players to give their all and push through difficult moments in a match.
It has been well documented over the years the effect of the Anfield atmosphere has on opposition players and coaches. The best coaches in world football have given their opinions on what makes it so difficult to go and get a result on Merseyside. Many talk about the special European nights and how the crowd acts as a 12th man, almost vacuuming the ball into the back of the net.
The motto ‘This is Anfield’ is no marketing spin. There’s something about it that you will find in no other stadium in the world. They score a goal and over the next five minutes you feel that you’ll receive another four. You feel small and the rival players seem to be all over you.Pep Guardiola on the atmosphere Anfield
Just like the coaches on the sidelines, the opposition players are not unaware of the aura around Anfield. Year after year players make the trip, and year after year they leave speechless.
In an Arsenal training session led by Mikel Arteta, he told his players of his personal struggles as a player when at the ground. He told them how he felt as if he hit a wall, ‘bajar’ he called it in his native tongue. He could only ‘see red shirts flying around’ him -he was unable to react, almost as if he was restrained by the intensity of the game passing him by.
I only had that feeling in my career once and it was at Anfield.Mikel Arteta on his struggles when playing at Anfield, on Amazon Prime’s All or Nothing series
A more recent example of the Anfield spirit on opposition players is the retelling of events in the 21/22 Champions League semi-final by Villareal midfielder, Etienne Capoue. He described Anfield as ‘hell’, a literal purgatory in which for 90 minutes they suffocate you, ‘whether it’s the atmosphere or the way they play’.
They have this ability to transcend themselves, to cause you nothing but problems, all the time, in any part of the field. They never stop, they rush you all the time, they only want to score goals, and even when they score, they carry on. They want to knock you out. They don’t care what or who is in front of them. They just want to kill everyone and that’s it.Capoue following his side’s 2-0 defeat at Anfield in April 2022
The players that are on the receiving end of the support have also made it known of their emotional attachment to the fans, and how much their support truly does help them go the extra mile. Generations of players have built upon the success, compounding and strengthening the character of the historic site.
Arguably the best captain in the history of Liverpool Football Club, Steven Gerrard, has spoke about Anfield countless times. The people that come and cheer the lads on every week are the people that Gerrard owes his own fealty. The now 41-year-old Scouser was born in the shadow of Anfield, and captaining his boyhood club to glory time after time was largely in part to the connection he felt to the people he played for. Captains that came before him and those who have come after are quickly indoctrinated into the cult of Anfield heroes.
When I die, don’t bring me to the hospital. Bring me to Anfield. I was born there and will die there.Steven Gerrard on the connection he feels to Anfield
Impact outside the stands
Off the field, the Anfield atmosphere helps to create a sense of community and belonging among Liverpool fans. Supporters from all over the world come together to cheer on the team, creating a unique bond that extends beyond just the love for the club. This sense of community is also reflected in the team’s performances, as the players feel a responsibility not to disappoint the fans.
The Anfield atmosphere also plays a significant role in Liverpool’s financial success. The stadium’s iconic design and atmosphere make it a popular destination for tourists, and the club’s merchandise sales are among the highest in the world. With Liverpool recently passing arch-rivals Manchester United in the ‘Deloitte Money League’, the stadium and its unique draw have clearly played a part in the turning of financial fortunes on Merseyside.
Proud but not satisfied
In recent years, the club has been investing in the stadium to enhance the matchday experience for the fans, including expanding the main stand and installing new seating, which will make it one of the biggest stadiums in Europe. This will not only make the stadium more comfortable for fans but also creates more revenue for the club.
The club are also currently in the process of expanding the Anfield Road end, which would bring the capacity to just over 61,000 – making Anfield the third highest capacity stadium in the league behind Tottenham (62,850) and Manchester United (76,000).
With a green space just off Walton Breck Road – adjacent to Anfield – being of not much use currently, there are rumours that this space may be used by the club for further expansion in the future.
In conclusion, the Anfield atmosphere plays a vital role in Liverpool’s success. The atmosphere gives the team an advantage on the field, also helping to create a sense of community among fans. The club’s investment in the stadium also shows how important the Anfield atmosphere is to Liverpool’s financial success.