Anfield welcomed back 40,000 supporters on Sunday afternoon, with a poignant rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone captured at Liverpool’s world-famous home.
After 515 days, everything felt close to normal in the world again, for 90 minutes at least.
It has been almost 18 months since Liverpool were harshly eliminated by Atletico Madrid in the Champions League in front of a full Anfield, with the world changing so much in that time.
Having been given the odd rare treat of having limited spectators last season, the Reds took a major step closer to normality on Sunday.
Jurgen Klopp‘s side hosted Athletic Club in the first of two quickfire pre-season friendlies – they also face Osasuna on Monday evening – as next weekend’s Premier League curtain-raiser at Norwich edges closer.
Liverpool played out a 1-1 draw against the La Liga outfit, with Diogo Jota opening the scoring, but the day was about so much more than the eventual result.
This was a welcome taster of a return to real football, having had to experience a hollow season last time around – one with no supporters, countless injuries and poor VAR calls.
Having roared the team bus into Anfield, the stage was then set for the supporters to produce a spine-tingling version of You’ll Never Walk Alone before kickoff.
There was extra emotion to Liverpool’s legendary anthem, given the horrors of the past year-and-a-half, and it was a special moment for those fortunate enough to be in the stadium.
The sight of a packed Kop end singing along couldn’t have been further from the lifeless atmospheres of last season and it makes the prospect of the 2021/22 campaign even more mouthwatering.
It’s been a long time coming, but normality feels close to returning at Liverpool – rarely has You’ll Never Walk Alone felt more warm and appreciated.