It’s Liverpool v Real Madrid in the Champions League this evening, so get ready for lots of talk about famous European nights at Anfield.
Not for the first time, the Reds need something approaching a miracle to overturn a first-leg defeat and progress to the next round.
On this occasion, Liverpool must win by at least two goals to reach the semi-finals, having lost 3-1 in Spain last week.
Of course, the club has a proud history of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in Europe, especially at home.
Unfortunately for Jurgen Klopp, it didn’t work out well on the last such occasion – and their home form since the pandemic is nowhere near what it was.
What Jurgen Klopp’s record tells us
We all know that one of Liverpool’s finest hours under Klopp came in similar circumstances: that 4-0 against a shell-shocked Barcelona to pull the Champions League semi-final out of the fire.
That was the German’s 10th two-legged European tie as Reds boss – and his 10th win. It was the fourth time Liverpool had needed to win the return leg at Anfield, and the third in which they came from behind on aggregate.
A tie from Klopp’s first season at Liverpool was almost as dramatic: a 4-3 second-leg win over old club Borussia Dortmund to make the Europa League final.
In summary then, Klopp’s Liverpool are experts in situations like the one they face against Real Madrid.
Except last time there was no fairytale ending. It was assumed they would make light work of Atletico Madrid’s 1-0 first-leg lead at Anfield, only to lose 3-2 after extra-time.
So, has Klopp’s magic worn off or was that merely a blip?
What Liverpool’s home form tells us
Liverpool have been close to unbeatable at Anfield in recent seasons – until this one, that is.
They lost only once at home in all competitions in each of the 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20 campaigns.
Their Anfield win percentage was a formidable 85 per cent in both 2018-19 and 2019-20.
That success rate has dropped off since, however, and dramatically so in the current season.
They have lost on seven ocassions at Anfield so far in 2020-21 – as many times as the four previous campaigns combined.
Is it because the now-absent crowd was such a factor in urging them on and intimidating opponents? Or is something broken with Klopp’s team on a deeper level?
Either way, where once Liverpool could rely on their home form to help them overturn first-leg defeats on famous European nights, that is no longer the case.