Saturday, August 21, 2021
Hymn, homage, home triumph
Klopp celebrates a very special mandatory victory
Liverpool FC also wins the second game of the Premier League season. But the encounter against Burnley FC means more than just three points. The accompanying circumstances make the mandatory win something special.
Liverpool FC presented themselves in excellent form on matchday two of the English Premier League. A week after the sovereign 3-0 win in Norwich, the Reds defeated Burnley FC 2-0 (1-0) at home. Diogo Jota (18th minute) and Sadio Mané (69th) met in the sold-out Anfield stadium for the acclaimed home win for coach Jürgen Klopp’s team. The 2-0 was initiated by central defender Virgil van Dijk with a long ball – and thus scored his first scorer point of the season in his only second game after a nearly one-year break due to a torn ligament.
The fact that the game became a football high office was not solely due to the result. Burnley FC is a club from the basement of the glamorous Premier League, the club lost their opening game against Brighton & Hove Albion. No, this encounter made the return of the mighty scenery special for Klopp and Co.: For the first time in exactly 528 days, Anfield Road was full again. At that time, Atlético Madrid played the second leg in the Champions League round of 16, for the Reds the game meant the European end – and one last football festival. 54,000 spectators were now allowed to come against Burnley FC.
“Without you, football is a great game, but with you football is the best game in the world,” said Jürgen Klopp, referring to the first Liverpool home game in the new Premier League season. Now the audience is back (at least for the time being) and they gave Anfield a great, emotional moment: The obligatory “You`ll Never Walk Alone”, the great stadium anthem, was sung along thousands of times, the song formed the overture for a moving homage: There was a minute of applause as Anfield paid tribute to lifelong fan Andrew Devine, the 97th victim of the Hillsborough tragedy. The fans on the legendary “Kop” formed a mosaic with the number 97 high, while Henderson laid a wreath in front of the famous stands to commemorate the 55-year-old who died in July – 32 years after playing at the devastating stadium- 1989 disaster had sustained life-changing injuries. “Hillsborough” is much more than a club trauma, the memories are still present around the club.
The Burnley guests then performed aggressively and physically in Anfield. They hit the host so bad that Klopp complained bitterly about the rude pace afterwards. “It’s as if we’ve gone back in time ten or 15 years,” complained Klopp after the game at BT Sport. “If you like that, then take a look at wrestling.” Referee Mike Dean showed neither a yellow nor a red card during the game at Anfield. “It was clear that we had to be ready for a real fight, and we were today,” said Klopp. “But they saw the duels. I’m not 100 percent sure that we are going in the right direction with such decisions.”
The Premier League had informed the clubs before the season that referees are instructed not to whistle “trivial things” so that the flow of the game is disrupted as little as possible. Klopp called for the rules to be reconsidered or specified. “The announcement is currently to let the game play, but no one knows exactly what that means,” he said. “I like decisions that favor the attacking team, that’s good. But we have to keep protecting the players.” Liverpool’s home win could have been higher. A goal from Mohamed Salah after 26th minutes was not given by the video referee because of a wafer-thin offside position.
In January of this year, Burnley FC had ended a huge streak of the home side: Liverpool FC remained undefeated in 68 home games up to the 19th day of the Premier League season 2020/21 in a row before Burnley’s Ashley Barnes won the Reds’ run Penalty suddenly stopped. Again, Barnes almost had a decisive influence on the course of events, but the attacker’s alleged equalizer was withdrawn shortly after the break due to an offside position.