Is It Time To Update The Anfield Songbook?
By Gareth Roberts
ANOTHER comeback victory. Another show of spirit. Another rollercoaster ride in a season chock-full of them. Anfield was buzzing. In the end.
A much improved second half and more magic from the bench inspired yet another home win against Fulham. We’ve been spoilt with how many we’re served up under Jurgen Klopp. Which begs the question, where is the love?
We’re deep into the season. More than halfway in terms of league fixtures, holding an advantage in the semi-final of the League Cup, through to the next stage in Europe and, for once, with a favourable looking FA Cup draw.
Who should we thank for that? We deify our managers here and Klopp deserves all the praise coming his way. Pep Lijnders even dared to praise the owners. But what about the players?
It’s the players who have put in the triple training sessions. The players who have kept chins up and shoulders back and ensured the demands for positivity are met and acted upon.
So why aren’t we showing them a bit more love? Giving them a bit more thanks?
At Anfield last night, I arrived at my spec - in modern day terms - relatively early; about 15 minutes before kick off.
Thin Lizzy’s The Boys Are Back In Town - a song as old as I am - boomed around a half-empty ground. A few expectant poles featuring flags yet to be unfurled stood tall in The Kop as more emerged from the Kemlyn Road side of the famous old stand.
Few acknowledge the people that make that happen week after week, dressing the ground how we know and love it, so here’s a shout to them.
While TV crews chattered away pitch side, Right Here, Right Now (Fatboy Slim, 1998) was cut short for Pete McDowall to read out the teams.
With 11 minutes to go before kick off, Oh When The Reds Go Marching In was attempted by some but soon fell flat. Pete’s customary, “And for Liverpool” injects some much-needed life into proceedings and cheers for each Liverpool player followed.
Eight minutes before kick off and the huge crowd surfer flag made its way across the hands of a still far from full Kop. Johnny Cash’s Ring Of Fire boomed around the ground, followed by Jamie Webster singing Allez Allez Allez.
Oh When The Reds… and Liverpool (clap-clap-clap) rise but quickly fall as fans file in to what was still a subdued stadium with four minutes until kick off.
Three minutes to go. Out come the teams. Liver-pool, Liver-pool rings out from the fans on The Kop, much louder now.
Planet Funk’s Chase The Sun is played over Anfield’s sound system, a song many (most?) associate with darts. It doesn’t quite hit the spot.
With two minutes to go, Caoimhin Kelleher receives warm applause and a much louder Liver-pool, Liver-pool tumbles down from The Kop as he runs over to take his position between the sticks.
The opening bars of You’ll Never Walk Alone ring out and there are just two minutes to go before kick off in this semi-final first leg.
As the match begins, I found myself thinking back to the days of the standing Kop. My 16 minutes or so ‘earliness’ for this game was nothing compared to queuing shortly after noon as a teenager.
Then, once inside, we’d boo the suited up opposition who came out for an early look at the pitch. We’d serenade our own players - every one of them - with a song, and each would acknowledge our support with an above the head clap and nod.
We were with them, and we made it known. And it’s always made me think, that must have felt good, mustn't it. Because who doesn’t love a bit of appreciation.
Fast forward a decade or nearly three, and I remember Andy Robertson talking about having his name sung after Liverpool beat Manchester City 4-3 at Anfield in 2018.
"Just after we scored the fourth, I'd won a couple of tackles and to hear them sing your name it's always nice, especially [from] the Kop, the noise they make,” he said.
"It started getting going and it gives you goosebumps; I can't thank them enough for the support they've shown me from day one.”
Back to the Fulham game, and in the build up I experienced, all 16 minutes of it, it was noticeable not one song for a player was sung. Once the match was underway, it wasn’t too different either.
Once again we had Oh When The Reds…, we had Scouser Tommy, we had We Don’t Carry Bottles, we had Oh Campione, we had Bertie Mee said to Bill Shankly and Fields of Anfield Road and We’ll Be Coming Down The Road.
Six minutes in, we had “Your support is fucking shit” from the Fulham fans. Bertie Mee again. Fields of Anfield Road again. And then, at 8.09pm, we finally got a player song, with Diogo Jota hopefully feeling the love.
Liverpool went in at half-time 1-0 down and only one player on the pitch had had his name sung. Now that can’t be right, can it?
In 16 minutes of build up and 45 minutes plus of action, Inter Milan, the Tories, Ian Rush, Kenny Dalglish, Steve Heighway and a fella who won the double for Arsenal got more vocal recognition than most of the lads trying to secure us a trip to Wembley.
Ok, we got some Darwin Nunez, Joe Gomez and Virgil Van Dijk recognition second half, but the songbook needs a little update here, doesn’t it?
There are now more current players without a regularly aired song than with them. So why is that?
I wonder if we’re getting a bit too sniffy as a collective. Fans are still dreaming up songs. But too often they are rejected for reasons that don’t really matter. A strive for originality and difference is worthy. But the truth is many a popular song sung by The Kop was ‘inspired’ from elsewhere.
I don’t have the answers, I don’t know the solution. But to this La’s fan and Kopite this Curtis Jones song would be a good start.
Seen @CouchNish Curtis Jones song earlier and thought it could be a belter, especially with loads of us having an affinity to the song anyway. Barry Sutton from The La’s agrees, and boxed it 👏🏼— Scouse Republic (@ScouseRepublic) January 3, 2024
I think this could be a belter 💥 pic.twitter.com/qJodKpxzHK
The Reds are having a belter of a season so far. A lot of it is down to unsung heroes.
Maybe it’s time to put that wrong right.