Football has changed a tremendous amount over the past six months. The global health crisis has forced leagues around the world to pause and then restart behind closed doors. There is currently no timeframe for when fans will be allowed to fill stadiums again and until then we will continue to flick through the channels until we find the one without the fake crowd noise. In an exclusive interview with Rousing the Kop, Reds’ icon Emile Heskey has discussed the impact an empty Anfield could have on Liverpool.
Football was halted earlier this year as the world faced up to the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sport was put on hold as the world isolated itself to minimise risk of transmission, at the time it was unclear whether or not the season would resume at all.
But resume it did, in June the Premier League returned behind closed doors and with strict protocols in place to protect all those involved.
As of yet there are no fans in Premier League grounds but there are trials underway in the football league which will see limited numbers of supporters allowed in. The Reds are hoping to have 12,500 fans back in Anfield for October’s clash with Sheffield United.
Emile Heskey on empty Anfield
Rousing the Kop spoke with Reds’ icon Emile Heskey about football being played behind closed doors.
When asked whether Liverpool could be particularly impacted due to the special atmosphere Kopites create, the ex-England forward told us:
“I think that most clubs will [suffer]. I think that for Liverpool, because of the way that the fans get behind you, because of the way that the fans spur you on, yes it won’t be the same.
“They’ve got to figure out how to galvanise themselves. As you can see from when we came back from the lockdown, the likes of Man City generally don’t need any fans in the stadium to get themselves going, they just do it…Liverpool need to figure it out.
What RTK has to say
We can’t help but agree with the man himself here.
Emile Heskey knows better than most just how important the Anfield crowd is, having banged in more than a few in front of the Kop.
We have seen that intensity levels have dropped since the Reds returned from the pause in play, though many have chalked this up to the title being done and dusted.
However, the lack of fans could be having a greater impact than we’d first imaged or hoped. The Anfield atmosphere and the travelling supporters do always spur the side on, demanding that extra yard of running.
Fingers crossed the gaffer managed to reinstall those levels of intensity before the fans return.