Liverpool must make Anfield a fortress again

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"Where's your famous atmosphere?"

A chant often heard at Anfield these days mocking the eerily quiet stadium whenever they host a Premier League club. The fear factor of the Kop is long gone and clubs arrive on Merseyside confident they can get a result. And all too often they do.

So how has fortress Anfield gone from the noisiest ground in the country to an edgy, uneasy place and how does this affect the team?


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Ticket Prices

Firstly, the ever rising ticket prices means that Anfield now consists of a very different crowd than those that attended in the 70's and 80's during the club's most successful years. Gone are the die-hard fans singing songs and scaring the opposition for 90 minutes. They have been replaced by fans waving selfie-sticks around, more interesting in taking pictures than watching the match.

Liverpool were so good when playing in front of their crowd back then that they lost just 11 matches during the whole of the 1970's at Anfield. That was just the beginning of complete domination at home for Liverpool. In 1972 Bill Shankly's team won 21 matches in a row at Anfield. Six years later Bob Paisley's side began a run of 85 matches unbeaten in all competitions. Teams hated playing at Anfield.

Fast forward to 2011/12 season and The Reds could only manage just six wins at home in the Premier League under Kenny Dalglish scoring just 24 goals. There was no atmosphere and the players didn't appear to relish playing in front of their own fans. What had changed?

Magnificent atmosphere

Brendan Rodgers appeared to rekindle the famous atmosphere in 2013/14 and the results came with it. Only eight points were dropped throughout the whole season and fans often greeted the team bus hours before kick-off before making their way to Anfield to create a magnificent atmosphere. The good times were well and truely back at Anfield.

Or were they?

Then came the 2014/15 season and Anfield was about as much of a fortress as a cardboard box. Four defeats and five draws in their 19 home league games makes pretty grim reading.

It's fair to say life at Anfield this season hasn't started too positively at all. A narrow and controversial win over newly promoted Bournemouth gave Liverpool a fortunate three points before they were crushed 3-0 by West Ham. It was West Ham's first win at Anfield since 1963 and one they fully deserved.

Under Pressure

So why are Liverpool players suddenly feeling under pressure to perform at home, especially against the smaller clubs?

It can sometimes be hard to find the correct balance between patience and urgency with fans wanting attack after attack and to win by a big scoreline. The players, especially the younger ones, can feel that the pressure of the fans is too much for them. The fans hope they can encourage the players but sometimes their demands can have a negative effect.

Liverpool fans need to get behind their team, most of all when they're struggling against lesser clubs, and motivate their players. They need to make their players feel comfortable playing under pressure and help support the younger ones to play with freedom and confidence.

Anfield's main stand is currently being expanded to over 20,000 meaning an extra 8,500 will be added to the capacity by the start of the 2017/18 season. Will the extra fans have a positive affect on the players an Anfield? Only time will tell. But Liverpool fans need to start showing opposition fans where their famous atmosphere is. Starting immediately.

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