Jurgen Klopp will get his first taste of the Anfield atmosphere, when he leads his Liverpool side against Rubin Kazan in the Europa League on Thursday. The former Borussia Dortmund coach secured a goalless draw with Tottenham on Sunday in his first match since taking charge of the Merseyside club earlier this month. With his appointment continuing to garner huge excitement around Liverpool, Klopp is eagerly awaiting the chance to get in front of a set of supporters that have a reputation for creating spine-tingling atmospheres, especially on European nights.
“I'm really looking forward to this game as you can imagine because it's the first home game and it’s at night, with lights and a special atmosphere,” he said at his pre-match press conference, reports Liverpool’s official website. “I hope we can bring this special atmosphere, take it, and transport it into the game.
“That's what we are all waiting for, these special moments. We are absolutely clear and we know about our job that we have to do for the special atmosphere. If somebody wants to surprise us and be louder than ever in their lives then try to be louder than ever in your life!”
Klopp has had a wretched time with injuries since taking charge, but has been given a boost this week, with Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino and Dejan Lovren all back in training. The trio are not, though, ready to start on Thursday, while Daniel Sturridge won’t be back available until Sunday’s clash with Southampton at the earliest.
While there will be plenty of enthusiasm surrounding Klopp’s Anfield debut, the new manager will also want to ensure that his side take the three points. Liverpool currently sit second in Group B of the Europa League, but have only taken two points from their first two matches. Last time out they could only draw disappointingly at home to FC Sion of Switzerland in Brendan Rodgers’ penultimate match in charge.
Still, Liverpool’s opponents have endured an even tougher start to the season. Like Liverpool, Rubin have had a change of coach this season, with Valeriy Chaly taking temporary charge last month. Results have not yet improved massively, however, and the club sits 12th in the 16-team Russian Premier League after 12 rounds of fixtures.
In the Europa League, results have gone no better. A defeat at Sion followed by a home draw with Bordeaux means they will travel to Anfield bottom of the group. Chaly will at least be able to call upon a player with plenty of experience of the surroundings on Thursday. Russia international midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov spent two-and-a-half seasons at Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals Everton, before departing in 2012. And while the 30-year-old never came out on the winning side at Anfield he is relishing a chance to return with Rubin.
“For me it will be very nice to walk onto the pitch at Anfield,” he said, reports AFP. “We know that the Europa League is not the most important tournament for the English teams, but I expect a tough and interesting match on Thursday.”
Kickoff time: 3:05 p.m. EDT
TV channel: Fox Sports 1