LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he had “goosebumps” as fans returned to Anfield for the first time in nine months, roaring the Premier League champions on to a comprehensive 4-0 win against Wolves on Sunday.
The Reds have not had the chance to play in front of their supporters since March and had to hold their title-winning ceremony after a 30-year wait in front of an empty Anfield back in June.
But they made up for lost time, swaggering to a comfortable win as the 2,000 fans permitted to attend under coronavirus restrictions sang the club anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone.
Wolves showed glimpses of a threat early on but the result was rarely in doubt once Mohamed Salah had given the home side the lead midway through the first half.
Second-half strikes by Georginio Wijnaldum, Joel Matip and a late own goal from Nelson Semedo underlined Liverpool’s superiority as they joined leaders Tottenham on 24 points from 11 matches.
“Wasn’t it the perfect night? Imagine 10 months ago people would have told us we would have a game and 2,000 people would turn up,” an emotional Klopp said.
“The game, the atmosphere, it was so nice I had goosebumps. They started, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ – really nice. I never knew it could feel that good.
“This (pandemic) started in February and we were waiting to get normality back. Normality is good – I don’t think we appreciated it as much. It was very, very touching.”
The win was Liverpool’s 31st in their last 32 home league games – they remain unbeaten in the top flight at Anfield since April 2017.
And Klopp hopes that the fans are back to stay: “It is so much more enjoyable with people involved.”
Wijnaldum agreed, saying: “It was a great feeling they were back.
“The fans helped the performance a lot because they cheered during the game and before, we only had the bench for support.”
There was even more good news for the Reds, who welcomed back Trent Alexander-Arnold after a month because of injury, while Klopp also said Caoimhin Kelleher had proven himself as the club’s No. 2 goalkeeper ahead of Adrian.
While first-choice stopper Alisson Becker is due to return shortly after two weeks out, Kelleher has shown in his last two games that he is a better understudy than the 33-year-old Spaniard.
On the Ireland Under-21 international, who made his league bow against Wolves, Klopp claimed he had “convinced everybody”, and pundits like Ian Wright and Jermaine Jenas also felt the Reds had unearthed “another one”.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS