Aaron Curry discusses Anfield’s new Main Stand as he viewed it from his seat on Anfield Road.
On Saturday, Liverpool convincingly defeated reigning champions Leicester City in a 4-1 win in front of a gigantic new Main Stand.
I attended the match itself and, as good as the performance was, there was a clear buzz around the ground even before a ball had been kicked. Of course, we have always had an optimistic fan base, but the renovation of the Main Stand gave the fans a clear lift.
Towering at an impressive 180 feet, the rejuvenated stand can now be seen over the skyline of Liverpool – dwarfing our neighbours across Stanley Park. The £115 million pound renovation increased the overall capacity of Anfield to over 54,000. That’s an extra 8,500 people singing, helping to boost the famous atmosphere further.
The Main Stand itself now has a capacity of 20,500, making it one of the largest all-seater single stands in European football. This is certainly a statement of intent from FSG, as rumours begin to emerge that Anfield Road is next on the agenda. Love them or hate them, this is a step in the right direction for a club like Liverpool.
The game marked the official opening of the expanded Main Stand, along with all new “Fan Zones” and exterior decorations.
Around 4:15pm, the Liverpool player’s bus was greeted by thousands of fans stood waiting by the newly created Players Entrance. A mob of the Anfield faithful also followed the team bus with their inevitable red flares and encouraging chants. Everybody was clearly keen to show their support and get behind the team.
The way the players were welcomed back to Anfield, for the first time since the penultimate game of last season against Chelsea, reminded me of the game against Borussia Dortmund. Albeit the noise wasn’t as loud (probably due to the nature of the game) but it instantly felt like a game we were going to dominate. We did just that. The simple fact that the Main Stand had been re-developed seemed to affect everything around it: players, atmosphere, expectations and optimism. Everything.
Then came the highly anticipated, world renowned “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Tens of thousands of fans stood side by side belting out the Liverpudlian national anthem (as I overheard one fan call it).
It certainly hadn’t been that loud at Anfield for a while. Of course, it was memorable against Dortmund and Villarreal in the Europa League last season, but in the Premier League not so much. The last time it was like that was probably during the heart-breaking 2013/14 season.
The energy transferred from the crowd in the stands down to the players on the pitch. Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana were just two of the players who stood out in an impressive victory. The entirety of the front six all performed exceptionally well.
Solidifying the hypothesis that the Main Stand will help the players, Sadio Mané said according to the Liverpool Echo, “I am very happy because we had amazing support”. No doubt that the extra capacity only helps to add to this support.
Almost a year on since Jürgen Klopp arrived last October, and things are certainly changing around Liverpool. From the roster of players to the actual stadium itself, it’s looking like Anfield could possibly turn back time and become the fortress it once was.
This is Anfield.