Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson says that the return of fans to an Anfield European night for the first time since March 2020 will prove dangerous for AC Milan.
A full Anfield has not seen in the Champions League since March 2020. What’s more, that occasion turned out to be a sour one for the Reds, amid a defeat by Atletico Madrid. Liverpool were the holders that campaign, but exited at the last-16 stage.
Last season, Liverpool did reach the quarter-finals but lost to Atletico’s city rivals Real Madrid.
European football of any kind looked a stretch with 10 games to go last season. Jurgen Klopp’s men sat eighth in the Premier League table.
As such, Henderson is not taking the experience for granted. However, ahead of his side’s opening Group B contest with Milan, he has insisted that the fans will prove crucial.
“A European night at Anfield with fans. Wow,” Henderson told the pre-match programme.
“They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, but in this case we always knew. That’s why we’ve been so desperate to have these nights back.
“Tonight was always going to be special, no matter who the opposition was. The fact that our opponents are AC Milan only makes it even more special.
“I know it is just the opening group game and nothing will be decided at this stage, but after being apart for so long I’m expecting a bit of extra electricity on and off the pitch.”
Liverpool still rank as England’s most successful club in the Champions League and European Cup. Their 2019 triumph over Tottenham was their sixth title.
However, Milan are one of the most historic competitors from the near continent. They have triumphed seven times in Europe’s premier competition.
Still, this is their first appearance in the Champions League since 2013/14.
Henderson warns of Milan history
“Theirs is a name that speaks for itself,” the midfielder said.
“I know it’s been a few years since they were in the Champions League and they’re on a similar journey to one that we were on not so long ago.
“But I’m a big believer that the biggest clubs with the biggest reputations have some sort of institutional memory that makes them equipped for these competitions when they are able to qualify.
“So we won’t be expecting any looseners or opening-night nerves from Milan tonight.”
Liverpool and Milan have not met since the 2007 Champions League final, when the Italians got revenge on Liverpool for their 2005 triumph.