Anfield responded to Klopp’s rally cry
Finally Jurgen Klopp may have a sense of what Anfield can be like. He’s witnessed the stadium when the fans are arriving rather than leaving early, as has been the case on a couple of notable occasions so far in his reign.
The Kop was packed 30 minutes before kick-off, louder before a ball was kicked than for most of the games of his tenure to date. The pre-match rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was probably the longest the stadium has heard.
The task for Klopp is to build a team worthy of such occasions – and capable of ensuring there are far more of them. There was certainly an extra yard in the step of the Liverpool players in the early stages, players from both sides evidently affected by the atmosphere. The gauntlet has been thrown to the Stretford End ahead of the second leg.
Better late than never with Sturridge’s penalties
Daniel Sturridge was notorious by his absence when Liverpool were beaten in the penalty shoot-out against Manchester City in the Capital One Cup. He insisted on picking up the ball when the opportunity came here.
No doubt there was plenty of frustration in his left-footed strike to put Liverpool ahead. In the striker’s defence, he could barely walk at full-time at Wembley – and he was absent in the next game – but his determination to take responsibility on this occasion would have delighted his manager.
Liverpool’s successive defeats to United heading into this game were largely a consequence of being bereft of the strikers that ripped their rivals apart when Sturridge was in tandem with Luis Suarez. The difference when Sturridge is on the pitch and in the mood demonstrates the side is different proposition with him.