Jürgen Klopp conducted the Anfield orchestra during Liverpool’s 2-2 draw against West Bromwich Albion, and thanked the crowd at the end of the game for their response.
In some quarters, the events of Sunday afternoon may be described as an overreaction, but to view it in this way would be to miss the point.
The ground had fallen silent towards the end of the second half, as Dejan Lovren writhed on the turf in agony following a full-blooded 50-50 challenge with Craig Gardner.
Replays showed that Gardner’s boot was high and into the knee of the Croatian, who refused to back out despite risk of injury. Lovren ended up with a nasty looking gash on his leg, and it was obvious to all those in attendance that something was seriously wrong with the Liverpool centre-back as he was stretchered off.
After this incident, the crowd ramped up the volume, creating what Klopp has described as a “special atmosphere.”
“This moment it was like an explosion. It was the best atmosphere since I’ve been here, I really enjoyed it,” said the German.
The manager played his part in creating this atmosphere, as he gesticulated to all corners of the ground to increase the decibel levels and help spur the team on.
While their teams fought hard on the pitch, the two managers enjoyed several exchanges on the touchline. This came to a head when Liverpool substitute Divock Origi scored a late goal to claim a point for his side.
An animated Klopp celebrated the goal with great enthusiasm, first with the supporters and then right in front of opposing manager Tony Pulis. The Welshman didn’t take too kindly to the overly animated nature of his opposing number on the touchline, but later admitted that he’d done the same in the past so was in no position to criticize another manager for doing it.
After the final whistle Klopp celebrated with those close to him in the technical area, before he and the whole Liverpool team made their way down to The Kop hand in hand to thank the fans as one.
“It was the best atmosphere in my time in England, absolutely great and I wanted to say thank you,” explained Klopp when asked about this reaction.
This type of scene has been seen before during Bundesliga matches, especially those involving Klopp’s Dortmund side, but it’s rarely if ever seen in this country.
Liverpool’s new manager has been trying to improve the atmosphere in Anfield by changing the way the team plays, the way the players interact with the crowd, and by convincing the fans to stay right until the final whistle by putting on a show for the whole 90 minutes.
On a cold, damp, and dark Sunday afternoon on Merseyside, Anfield got almost 100 minutes of entertainment.
While there were poor performances from some players in the side and things didn’t always go their way, there was no lack of desire or passion, and all this was instigated by the man on the touchline.
It has been viewed as an overreaction in some quarters, but if there is to be any real bond between fans and players in modern football then both need to live in the moment, taking these moments as they come rather than thinking about how this might be viewed afterwards.
It may have only been a draw at home to West Bromwich Albion, but for anyone who had a ticket to the game, managed to watch it online, or for those who’ll watch Match of the Day with broad grins on their faces, it was the best and most entertaining draw at home to West Bromwich Albion they’re likely to see.