Fans are often labelled the “twelfth man” but as these quotes below show, the Anfield crowd really have played a key role in previous famous occasions.
Bill Shankly was a fervent advocate of the powers of Anfield, a place which he was proud to call home, placing the famous ‘This Is Anfield sign above the tunnel, saying: “It’s there to remind our lads who they’re playing for, and to remind the opposition who they’re playing against.”
Let’s begin with the 3-1 European Cup Semi Final, First Leg win over Inter Milan in 1965:
“The Italians thought they had heard noise in the San Siro I can tell you they had never experienced anything like the noise from the Anfield fans as the cup was carried round. When we heard the crowd I could understand how intimidating it was for the Italians. But it gave us a great lift. People talk about the atmosphere at the St Etienne game, when David Fairclough was the hero, and Istanbul, but that night against Inter Milan was something special.”
– Tommy Smith (speaking in 2008)
The aforementioned win against St. Etienne, in a 1977 European Cup Semi Final, Second Leg is often attributed as one of the best atmospheres in the club’s history:
“For me it was the greatest atmosphere I ever played in. Older supporters will talk about the Inter Milan and Celtic games in the sixties, but there was no doubt in my mind that St Etienne was the best. There was a sense of anticipation about the game and it hit home when we heard that there were thousands of fans gathering around the ground early in the morning, never mind late afternoon. It was a real pressure game and the supporters played their part.”
– Joey Jones (speaking in 2007)
Here are more quotes that prove the power of the Anfield crowd, they speak for themselves:
“The atmosphere from the word go was electric and with the early goal everybody just seemed to explode at the same time. It was unbelievable the support they gave us and I think everyone who was at the ground on Tuesday will remember it for a long time.”
– Dietmar Hamann
“The crowd were fantastic, there was no way I could have run like that for 96 minutes if I hadn’t been feeding off the crowd.”
– John Arne Riise
“Liverpool’s fans definitely intimidated Chelsea at Anfield… I want to thank the fans for playing such a big part in helping us reach the final.”
– Xabi Alonso
“That atmosphere was better than anything I’ve known and I’ve been involved in some great nights recently. The games against Roma, Juventus and Olympiakos were unbelievable, but that was something else…there’s none better than our fans or Anfield on a European night”
– Jamie Carragher
“At the end I felt like jumping in and celebrating with the fans. They’re the best in the country by a mile and I just hope they enjoy the final as much as they have this evening.”
– Steven Gerrard
“When I was coach of Valencia, we played Celtic in the UEFA Cup and the atmosphere was great but this was even better. I will never forget this game. It was good on television but when you are in the ground, hearing it, it’s fantastic.”
– Rafa Benitez
“I felt the power of Anfield, it was magnificent.”
– Jose Mourinho
“I have never heard anything like it before and I don’t think I ever will again. It is the best atmosphere I’ve ever played in.
“I walked out into that cauldron and heard that singing and saw that passion. The hairs on my arms were standing up. To see a spectacle like that is inspiring to anyone.
“I just kept looking around, trying to take it all in. I wasn’t daunted by it, but it was amazing. I wish more crowds were like that.
“Apart from the volume, it looked spectacular, too. In the seconds before the referee blew his whistle for the start of the match, the whole stadium let out this great long roar as if they were going to power Liverpool to victory.”
– John Terry, writing in his autobiography
“I have refereed at places like Barcelona, Ibrox, Manchester United and Arsenal. But I’ve never in my life been involved in such an atmosphere. It was incredible.”
– Referee, Lubos Michel
“What I remember most from that night was the Anfield atmosphere… and that should worry Manchester City as they prepare for Wednesday’s quarter-final.
“It was stunning, one of the loudest, most intimidating walls of pure emotional noise I have ever heard.
“Sitting on the bench in the opening minutes, it brought the hairs up on the back of my neck. People say top-class professionals are not affected by the atmosphere, but believe me, they are. Chelsea were a case in point that night.”
– Robbie Fowler
“I can still hear the noise in the stadium after slotting the ball home. It was one of my most special nights at Anfield.”
– Dirk Kuyt
“With the equaliser it was an atmosphere where everybody, except our supporters, believed it was meant to be.”
“If you think back to the Champions League final against Milan and coming back from 3-0, that contributed to the energy in the stadium.
“Liverpool had no positions any more and it was like everyone here believed in this lucky punch and unfortunately we gave it away.
“When they scored the first goal we reacted well and scored a third. When Liverpool equalized perhaps there was a change in belief in the stadium and perhaps a feeling that it was meant to be.”
– Dortmund manager, Thomas Tuchel
“The atmosphere was the best I have ever experienced. It should serve as an example to everyone about how supporters can influence a team and influence a game.
“I love it when you step out of the dressing-room and you see the Kop, the scarves, and [hear people] singing You’ll Never Walk Alone. Just that, that would do it for me.”
Manchester Evening News reporter on Anfield atmosphere’s influence in 2014:
“A wall of sound tumbling down the Kop, supercharged the Liverpool players.
“The place generates an unbelievable atmosphere. Sitting in the press box on Sunday, the noise level at kick-off was genuinely disorientating.”
“You could be playing against an average Liverpool team and it would still be one of the toughest games of the season, just because the crowd drive them on and the tradition between the two clubs.”
Fabio Capello, on atmosphere vs Juventus, 2005:
“The fantastic atmosphere at Anfield was like an electric shock for Liverpool’s players, who started the match at an astonishing tempo. They seemed unstoppable.”