The staff and players of Jurgen Klopp will certainly never forget it. Then Liverpool, on the 20th. September went to Chelsea in the Premier League and won 2-0. The absence of fans on Stamford Bridge, as in almost every stadium in the world, gave us a good insight into what happens on and off the pitch.
Just before half of the match between the English champions and Frank Lampard’s new Bleus, Andreas Christensen was sent out for a rough interception by Sadio Mane after an intervention of the VAR. When referee Paul Tierney showed a red card after initially issuing a yellow one, some of the Liverpool staff and deputies sitting in the stands behind the bench celebrated the dismissal.
Klopp didn’t like it.
Are you crazy? He told me to turn around and face whoever did it. We don’t, you understand me? You don’t applaud when someone from the other team is sent in!
– ESPN FC Daily diet with ESPN+ (US only)
The British three-tier system allows fans to attend matches based on the level of positivity of the COVID-19 test. Football will slowly return to normal with real fans and organic sounds on the stands. But London will be promoted to the third division on Wednesday, which means fans will miss Chelsea, Arsenal, Fulham, Tottenham and West Ham, who have been allowed to return for a few weeks.
Eventually, all the fans will come back. This will be the end of what we have seen in recent months, where, like Klopp, we could hear just about everything that was said on the field and in the stands.
Normally this incident with Klopp would have been overlooked by journalists or experts, because the noise of the fans would have drowned out the conversation. But on the bridge we clearly heard his loud voice that day, almost resounding through the stadium.
Klopp has always been a lively presence on the sidelines, treating every Liverpool game intensely from his technical space. He often yells at his players, even though everything is forgiven at the end of the game. Klopp is, in a way, a Duracell rabbit. His most important milestone (apart from not celebrating the expulsion of an opponent) is the press. He puts his team in a state where he encourages them to put pressure on the opposition and either get the ball back or make a mistake. He celebrates it almost as well as Liverpool’s goal.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Jurgen Klopp is known as one of the noisiest managers in the Premier League, but his instructions are clear to anyone who does not have a full stadium to drown him. RUI VIEIRA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Without the fans, you could hear the encouragement of the former Dortmund boss as the imposing Gini in Liverpool’s versatile midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum – who we heard in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City on 8. November several times. It’s also fast and critical: If Jordan Henderson plays in the front too long, Klopp screams: Come on, Hendo, what are you doing? Meanwhile, Alisson keeps saying the same thing to his defenders in the goal: Keep up the good work!
After Arsenal was the 28th. September had traveled to Anfield, a Gunners player could not believe how clearly Klopp had been heard. I swear even the people in the houses around the stadium should hear it, he says laughing.
That night it was a symphony of voices between Klopp and Mikel Arteta; just like Klopp, Arteta never stops. He talks to Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe in French. Come on Laca, come on, that’s good! (Come on, Laka, come on, that’s good!) He’s talking to Pierre Emeric Aubameyang in Spanish…. Auba, dentro, dentro! (inside, inside! in terms of attack capabilities) — and also for Hector Bellerin, Dani Ceballos, Gabriel and Thomas Partey, who speak English with the rest of the team. Of all the managers in the Premier League, Artem is the one who coaches the most. Come here, move there, get down there, get in, push, and go all the time as usual, delivered with gestures and great intensity.
If Granit Xhaka is not suspended, Arteta can say he has another coach on the field. The Swiss midfielder is his absolute backbone. He tells all his teammates what to do, where to go, how to play. (Although he would need a little more organization in his own game after he was stupidly sent away in the recent loss to Burnley).
Against Liverpool, after Arsenal took the lead at Anfield, Xhaka heard his teammates tell how they celebrated Lacazette’s goal: We’re not afraid. We’re not afraid. We come here, we play, we’re not afraid! Liverpool made up the balance after a few minutes and eventually won 3-1, but the idea was there: Arteta wanted his team to enter the House of Champions and be brave, to try to play at the back and be authentic. Xhaka passed on the message.
Arsenal defender Rob Holding is generally quiet on the field, but against Wolves in the Emirates on 29. In November he was unhappy with what he thought was Adam Traore’s dive and told the referee that [Traore] was built like a brick…. House, how did he fall like that?
Fault! The file name is not specified. Arsenalboss Mikel Arteta is a bit more discreet on the sidelines, but he is known for communicating with his players in different languages to get his message across. Visionhaus
Some of the players who spoke informally with ESPN stressed the extent of the change without the fans, as their managers could be much more involved in the minute-to-minute action. Before it was possible to hear anything the manager said, but now you know and he knows that you noticed every word he says, the Premier League player. This is a nightmare! Today’s managers talk a lot more than they used to, they give more advice, criticize more, shout more. It’s so different.
Arteta recently confirmed it on Spanish radio: Without visitors, we’re lucky players hear us more, but if you ask a player, he’ll probably want to hear us less! said the Arsenal director before commenting on his use of different languages.
With no fans in the stands, Spurs boss Jose Mourinho stood out with his voice louder than that of his Man City counterpart Pep Guardiola. He has so much energy, whether he’s encouraging his players or yelling at them all the time, like when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg scored in the 0-0 tie with Chelsea on the 29th. November wanted to be too deep in midfield. But Mourinho doesn’t always succeed. There was a nice moment in the North London derby against Arsenal at 6. November, when Mourinho called the fourth referee with a back pass, back pass! shouted after Ceballos had passed the ball with his hip to Bernd Leno before realizing he had actually let him in.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Game
Jose Mourinho puts the form of Tottenham Hotspur into perspective by comparing his 300 days of leadership with Jurgen Klopp in 2000.
Guardiola has a different approach. He communicates much more with the bank and the assistants than with the players. He repeated it three or four times in the loss to Tottenham two weeks ago: How can you allow such a goal… after Son Heung-min’s first goal when the defense, especially Joao Cancelo, fell asleep.
However, if he has a message to deliver, Guardiola is very clear in his team. In Chelsea’s 2-1 loss in June, everything revolved around Kevin De Bruyne in midfield, which meant that every time one of the City players was on the field, Pep would say Kevin, Kevin, Kevin! called to make sure the Belgian was the first option for a pass. Richard Wright, who was once the city’s third-choice goalkeeper and is now the keeper’s assistant coach, calls every time he plays: Get ready, we can push!
Another big change without a big crowd is the number of extra submarines. In the Manchester United vs. Arsenal match at 1. In November midfielder Nemanja Matic started in the 30th minute. From the first minute there was a warm-up on the sideline behind goal United defending. He never stopped talking and coaching and focused more on getting his teammates together than warming up. He told Lindelof: Vic, tell Fred to go in there before you take out the Brazilian. Fred, lower. Then it was Pogba’s turn. Yes, Paul, play again. Rudiger’s doing the same with Chelsea.
There’s also a litany of nicknames we heard behind closed doors during the games. In Tottenham is Uncle Serge Aurier, Sergio Reguilon is Regui and Harry Kane is X. At Chelsea: Chilly (Ben Chilwell), Jorgie (Jorginho), NG (N’Golo Kante) and Zoom (Kurt Zouma). There is also Richie (Richarlison), Shaq (Xherdan Shaqiri) or Willie (Willian) and many others.
You also hear a lot more swearing. Take Newcastle goalkeeper Carl Darlow, who was happy with the way his team suffered a home defeat against Brighton and Hove Albion on the 20th. September has begun, with the waving of his teammate after five minutes… …screaming. This is nothing compared to Watford’s championship game against Luton on the 26th. September, when Luton heard midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe think he was shooting at his teammate James Collins instead of crossing the ball. (Unfortunately for Collins, Watford won 1-0).
We could write a book about everything we’ve heard and keep hearing without the crowd that won’t come back for a while in many competitions. But perhaps the image that best sums up the era of the closed door is that of the 6th. The month of December took place in Metz when Lyon arrived in the city. Lyon coach Rudi Garcia has been suspended after he was expelled in the previous game. He wasn’t allowed to sit on the couch and had to sit in the bleachers. But he was able to coach his team because there was no one at St. Paul’s Stadium. Symphores and that all his instructions were clearly audible in the field. Lyon won the match 3-1.