The term ‘This Is Anfield’ is synonymous with Liverpool FC, and the sign containing its message is one of great significance to the club’s players past and present.
An iconic feature of Liverpool’s spiritual home, three versions of the famous sign have passed through Anfield’s walls.
As a mark of respect, Jurgen Klopp eventually asked his players to not touch the sign until they had won something with the club. Aside from his new summer signings, his entire squad now have that privilege.
So, what have some of those associated with the Reds had to say about the legendary sign over the years?
“It’s there to remind our lads who they’re playing for and to remind the opposition who they’re playing against.”
One of the most famous quotes in Liverpool FC’s history and one that is now on display next to the sign in the tunnel at Anfield.
The sign was first installed by Shankly after a recommendation from a groundsman. The initial idea was for it to contain the words ‘Welcome to Anfield‘, but the last thing the legendary Liverpool manager wanted was for opposing teams to feel ‘welcome’!
“It’s important to remember and to know the club that you are, to respect it, to play for it.
“As I heard once from Fernando Torres, this remains ever the place we pass by, for four more years [in my case].
“And to touch this symbol we have to deserve it and to win as many trophies as we can.
“That’s why today I will not. I will respect this tradition.”
That was the Spaniard on his very first day as a Liverpool player. However, his claim that ex-Red Torres told him he couldn’t touch the sign until he won a trophy doesn’t quite add up, with El Nino pictured touching the sign the day he was unveiled at Anfield in July 2007!
“This is Anfield. If you say it you feel strong, if you see the sign it gives you an even stronger feeling.
“How does a player know that he can touch the sign? Easy, because I tell him.
“I know it means a lot to the players. It meant an unbelievable amount to them after winning the Champions League. They were finally, in our understanding, allowed to touch it, and in winning the league, even more so.”
After arriving at Liverpool in 2015, the German later revealed he had told his players to not touch the sign until they had won something with the club.
“Boss wouldn’t let us touch the sign until we won a trophy… now is the time.”
After the first match of the 2019/20 season, a few months after Liverpool had lifted their first trophy under Klopp, ex-Liverpool midfielder Wijnaldum confirmed that the players who had won the Champions League were now able to touch the sign before matches.
They had waited long enough!
“When you come into a football club, you need to have a real sense of the past, a sense of the present and a sense of the future.
“And the nostalgia around this football club is immense. I just felt that this was a sign and a symbol of what Liverpool was for many years.
“The sign was taken down in 1998 but it was there from 1974 until that point and the period of success within that was phenomenal.
“So for me, it’s a mark of the Anfield of old. We’re very much in the modern era but I think it’s very important to remember the great past of this football club and the ‘This is Anfield’ sign is a massive part of that.”
Former Liverpool manager Rodgers was the man to restore the original sign at Anfield in 2012 after digging it “out of a storeroom” merely weeks into the job.
The success he was hoping to revive at Anfield was not forthcoming in his time at the club, but he will certainly not regret his decision to reinstate a huge part of Liverpool’s history.
“You sign for the club and you see the history of the sign and how many players and managers have walked out the tunnel to that sign. That’s something that obviously drives the boys forward.
“It obviously drives the manager forward, the fact that in his first press conference he mentioned it, that nobody will touch it until we win something.
“You see in the interview with Thiago the day that he signed, that man has won a lot, he’s won a lot of titles in Germany and Spain and won Champions Leagues, and he refused to touch it.
“Now, the feeling that must give some of the lads that do touch it when they’re walking out, it must have given them an incredible feeling. Because you’ve earned that moment, and you’ve earned that respect of what the sign holds.
“You realise how special the sign is; how many years it has been at Anfield to how much success it has seen, and you know, you need to achieve something.”
Robertson, a player at the very heart of Liverpool’s success under Klopp, was speaking in a video published on Liverpool’s social media channels.
Anfield’s Main Stand, including the tunnel area, was redeveloped between 2014 and 2016, and Klopp wanted to ensure the sign was still on show above the main entrance to the pitch.
The message is stronger than ever. This Is Anfield.