Jurgen Klopp said he is keen to be reacquainted with Anfield’s European atmosphere as Liverpool play their first Champions League at home since May on Wednesday night.
The European champions’ last appearance at home in the Champions League witnessed one of the most famous evenings in Anfield’s storied history as the Reds turned around a three-goal deficit by beating Barcelona 4-0 on May 7.
Gini Wijnaldum scored a brace off the bench either side of a Divock Origi double as a Liverpool team without Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino produced a comeback for the ages against a Barca side that included Lionel Messi, Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez.
The six-time European Cup winners return to Anfield in a more modest circumstances on Wednesday night as they host Red Bull Salzburg in Group E.
However, Klopp has urged the Anfield faithful to stir up a trademark atmosphere as the holders aim to bounce back after the 2-0 defeat in Napoli last month.
“Let’s make it as positive as we can because it is the first game since Barcelona that we play at Anfield,” Klopp said.
“It is like a reunion with the European crowd. OK, we have played Premier League games but these European nights are based on the performances of all of us. I really hope we can create that atmosphere again and see what it is good for.”
Klopp is expecting a tough challenge against Jesse Marsch’s early pacesetters. The Austrians hammered Genk 6-2 in their opener and the Liverpool manager sees similarities between them and the Mainz side he managed the formative stages of his career.
He said: “It will be a test, of course. It is really difficult for me to explain it in your language, but they remind me of what I did years ago at Mainz. They have a clear 4-4-2 formation and you made life pretty uncomfortable for each opponent.
“If any team thought, ‘it’s Mainz’. We were there. But we don’t think that, not at all. We are not like this. With the system they play, the football they play, it is possible to cause each team in the world problems.
“They played in pre-season against Real Madrid and lost (1-0) but I am sure Madrid were surprised. They played Chelsea and Chelsea won but it was like ‘wow.’ They are really intense, it will be intense, and wild in moments.
“I could talk for two hours on what they do well, but what is really important is that they never played us. That is really important. For me it is the most important message and what they hopefully think about as well when they go to bed tonight is that: it is Anfield and it is us.
“And we respect each opponent, that is in our DNA, when you come here we respect you and we show that with our attitude and the effort we put in the game.
(Image: Bongarts/Getty Images)
“We are the most uncomfortable opponent you can face if we are spot on. We don’t want to play against them, 4-4-2 with this pressing idea and thinking you can outplay them with a pass here and a pass there, it is about physicality as well. It is about the right level of aggressiveness.
“There will be challenges and we need to be there. We will defend them with all that we have. We want to win this football game. When you saw the group, before you started thinking about what Salzburg is exactly, you would have thought good group. Naples, Liverpool… and the other two.
“But you go into detail about an opponent and you go, ‘wow that is impressive.’ and it is impressive what they do. The 6-2 against Genk was not a 6-2. Four counter-attacking goals, Genk were not that bad to be honest for the first half an hour.
“Genk did a lot of good stuff. It was just like our 2-0 defeat against Napoli was not a 2-0. The group started two weeks ago and now there is the next game for all of us.”