LIVERPOOL 1-1 RUBIN KAZAN
Klopp is still unbeaten in his fixtures so far. Even his critics can’t deny that even though his results could improve from drawing to winning, he’s still not lost at all and being undefeated is respectable for any manager.
The excitement leading up to this game was immense. I had personally acquired a ticket to go to Anfield for Jürgen Klopp’s first home game and everyone there was buzzing with positive energy about the new manager and what could happen in the future.
Once inside of the stadium, the crowd were deafening, probably louder than I have ever heard our fans. The main reason for this was certainly because there was no actual Rubin Kazan fans inside the stadium – some kind of strict ban had been placed on the Russian fans, who were told they would not be allowed to travel from Russia to Liverpool for this fixture.
Vladmir Putin obviously doesn’t think tourism is a good idea when it means his citizens are leaving the country with their money. But hey, now the Reds fans won’t travel to Russia for the away game any more if you’re gonna be like that, Mr President. I’ll spend my money on a new shirt, like this one I got recently and was wearing to the game.
With about 45000 Reds fans (instead of 40000 Reds and 5000 “away” fans as you would normally see), the crowd sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone” for Jürgen Klopp as loud and proud as it’s ever been heard. He received a very warm welcome and it should have been one of the most memorable times of Jürgen’s career, to see such overwhelming support for him.
As far as the line-up went, it wasn’t very different from the one that faced Tottenham at White Hart Lane. Joe Allen would replace Lucas Leiva in the starting 11 but other than that, we saw the same side picked by Klopp. One very good thing about the squad was that our substitute bench included returning players such as Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke. Daniel Sturridge did not feature in our squad just yet, but he’s close to returning too.
Liverpool really didn’t show their full strength from the very first minute. There was attacking going on and we weren’t doing all of it, the pressure had been mounted by our opponents. The first quarter of an hour had excitement and it took only 15 minutes to see a goal. Unfortunately, it wasn’t us scoring it.
Martin Skrtel put a dangerous challenge in that he could easily have been sent off for, then not long after there was a ball crossed into the box that was collected then fired past Mignolet and into the back of our net by Marko Devic. At this point, there was almost dead silence throughout Anfield since the entire stadium was filled with Liverpool fans and we’re not going to cheer for the opposition scoring obviously. 45000 people went quiet as the referee got the ball from our net and took it back to the center circle for the game to restart again.
Liverpool never gave up and continued to press our attacks.
Around the 40th minute, Emre Can would make his way down the left wing, then directly towards goal. As he neared the penalty area, already booked Oleg Kuzmin would harshly chop down both legs of Can, leaving the referee with no option but to at least book him for a second time… making a red card for him.
Soon after play restarted from the free kick awarded, Origi won a header. It was headed down to Can who had made his way into the penalty area. Can then swiftly struck the ball into the net from close range and had made it 1-1.
With Kazan only playing with 10 men and having just conceded a goal, it began to look like Liverpool could win this game now. The roars of the crowd rang around the ground once more and as the half time whistle blew, Reds fans all knew there was still hope for victory in the second half.
Liverpool did their best to get the winning goal, but it just was never going to happen. Strange, that when they had gone down to 10 men after less than 5 minutes, they conceded a goal but we were given an extra 45 minutes to face the same 10 men and did not get another goal. I’m happy enough to still continue the undefeated streak under Klopp, but a win in his first home game would have been special. I’d have been calling the manager a “genius” for sure. Anyway, it provides a bit of extra work for Klopp and his assistants to do. They know we have areas to improve upon to better our results and will work on them at the training ground.
One player who shone throughout the entire match was Emre Can. He scored the only goal of the game (without which we’d have likely lost 0-1 and also dropped 3 points) and worked himself up and down the pitch until the final whistle and for that, I’d say he earned the “Man Of The Match”.
Can has been in Germany’s Bundesliga and played against Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund as he was part of the Bayern Leverkusen squad. Can knows Klopp and Klopp knows Can and I think they work well together, being familiar faces from familiar places. I’m certain Can wants to impress his new manager and already respects him enough to work very hard under his management. Long may that continue, for Can and all members of the squad. A manager who inspires our team to success is what we all want.
This trip to Anfield was a special one, I’m proud to say “I saw Klopp’s first home game at Anfield”. I plan on returning to Anfield to watch us live at our home stadium again for the 4th Round League Cup game against Bournemouth on October 28th, but before then there is a Premier League fixture against Southampton, also at Anfield on October 25th. So we won’t have to wait too long for our next few games, they’re all happening in less than a week.
Here’s a few more snaps I took myself of Anfield including the work being done on part of the new stand, currently under construction.
I hope you enjoyed watching our Europa League game as much as I did, Reds. Keep believing in Klopp and he will bring us the best results possible, eventually. He needs our patience and time to get them, though. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were Klopp’s previous successful sides. So wait it out and we’ll have the winners we all want to see eventually.
Walk on, with hope in your heart. You’ll Never Walk Alone, Anfield Family.
[written by] Stuart Drewery
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (about 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.