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23rd Apr 2018

These are the reasons why European nights at Anfield rock visiting players to their core


Steven Gerrard celebrates Liverpool's win over Chelsea

‘Incredible. Crazy. Unbelievable’

European nights at Anfield are special. There’s no denying this. Even fans of rival clubs will look at the flags, the flares and the noise with a grudging respect as You’ll Never Walk Alone bellows out pre-match.

Some opposition players thrive in such a hostile environment, others freeze.

But the atmosphere on these occasions at Anfield is not so much about what effect it has on the visiting players, but how it lifts the men in red.

And it definitely lifts them. There have been too many incredible victories against seemingly superior teams to deny this.

How could you say with any certainty that the home fans didn’t play any part in Liverpool’s blistering first-half against Manchester City in the quarter-final, first leg?

Roma will be the next side to pitch up at Anfield and see what all the fuss is about, but if they need proof of what a cauldron the old stadium can be they only need to read these testimonies from others who’ve experienced the atmosphere of a big European night in L4.

“I’ve played in a lot of stadiums but for me there is nothing like playing at Liverpool. The fans always sing and hold up their scarves before and after the game – whether they have won or lost. It must be amazing if you are a Liverpool player.” – Thierry Henry, 2008

“I’m stuck for words. It’s so different: the singing in the ground and the approach to the stadium. You walk through the area with all the houses and suddenly there it is, the stadium, you can’t see it until it’s on top of you…crowded with all the fans, the noise, the passion. The atmosphere is incredible. Crazy.” Raul, 2012

“We lost in the last minute and we got kicked out of the competition but the atmosphere before the game, even when we were 3-1 up, was crazy. I loved it! I remember coming through the streets on the bus and there were so many people cheering. It was loud, very emotional.” Mats Hummels, 2016

“It is tough to explain what it is like here. You have to experience it yourself. These big nights in the Champions League are special occasions and it is a special sound. It is a once in a lifetime experience – a special environment you must experience once in your career.” Alvaro Arbeloa, 2014

 “The fans remained for the whole game and never stopped applauding their team. I couldn’t believe it. I was speechless.” Xavi, 2016 (talking about winning at Anfield 3-1 in 2001)

“When the players walk out onto the Anfield pitch in the Champions League it’s a completely different atmosphere to anything you’ll find anywhere else.” Ian Rush, 2009

“The atmosphere is unbelievable. When I was here four years ago, I played against Liverpool and I said, ‘One day, I have to play here.’ The fans are fantastic and that is what I can say.” Mo Salah, 2018

“Everywhere plays football, but there are some places in Europe that are very special and magic. Every time I see matches in this stadium it’s great to see the crowd and fantastic.” Leo Beenhakker, 2017

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