Pep Guardiola: Anfield is “completely different” without fans

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Pep Guardiola has acknowledged the role a packed Anfield could have had on proceedings in his side’s 4-1 win over Liverpool, and he wants to replicate his side’s feat when the pressure is truly on.

Man City arrived at Anfield on Sunday without a win against a Liverpool side on home soil since 2003 in all competitions, with that run stretching 19 games.

But the meeting behind the Premier League‘s two dominant forces on Sunday was, of course, forced to be played without the loyal fans who help make Anfield the daunting place it is due to the pandemic.

Guardiola is no stranger to the influence the Reds faithful can hold over the opposition having felt the brunt of it in both the top-flight and Champions League in recent years.

It all changed after they inflicted a 4-1 defeat on Jurgen Klopp‘s men, however, after punishing a series of defensive mistakes, but Mohamed Salah‘s equaliser from the penalty spot could have led to a different outcome had fans been present in the eyes of Guardiola.

And now he wants to be able to replicate a result when Anfield is at its feral best.

“I’m so proud of the guys to be the ones to break the record, it shows how difficult it is,” Guardiola told reports in his post-match press conference.

“Hopefully, next time we can do it with a similar performance with spectators as Anfield with and without [fans] is completely different.

“I know I couldn’t imagine after 1-1, Anfield could influence the players.”

It’s not the first time Guardiola has spoken highly of Anfield and the fans it is home to, having been taught first-hand that the club’s famous motto is no gimmick.

“The motto ‘This is Anfield’ is no marketing spin,” Guardiola said back in the summer of 2019.

“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.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 2, 2019: Liverpool supporters on the Spion Kop with a banner "We are the Champions, Champions of Europe" during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Liverpool FC and FC Salzburg at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s no secret that Liverpool miss their 12th man, with this their third successive league loss at Anfield after a 68-game unbeaten run.

The Reds feed off the unwavering support to help fuel their high-intensity approach, using the crowd to intimidate – you need only ask the likes of Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund.

Hopefully, it will not be too long until Anfield can be packed to the rafters once more.

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