Back in March, a full house provided a thunderous backdrop for a full-throttle performance of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, when they had wrongfully left Atletico Madrid.
The Champions League looks very different from the last time Anfield hosted.
Liverpool’s verdict: The Reds beat Mitdjylland 2-0 in the Champions League, but may suffer an injury from Fabinho
The Reds made it against FC Mitdjylland back then, when the Reds won Group D one after the other and thus won the knockout round for the fourth time in a row.
However, these factors are beyond Liverpool’s control. All they can do at this stage is to continue winning the games they are supposed to be playing.
Two and a half and thirty days after this match, the fans are still at home, the atmosphere is over and the reputation of which this competition is so proud has deteriorated considerably.
Prior to its arrival in 2015, they had not been in the final stages of this tournament for more than half a decade, and the 2009 quarter-final appearance was their deepest quest for a competition they have now won six times.
It almost goes without saying that Klopp have brought Liverpool back to the top of European football in the past five years.
*If you want more reactions – including Jurgen Klopp’s press conference – check out the post-match podcast HERE.
These are the expectations Klopp is struggling with, but the German is satisfied with them, as his team continued their way to the round of sixteen with a routine 2-0 win here.
Now they are regular guests at the Champions League celebrations, and while in the past the mere qualification for the competition was considered something to celebrate, the Reds are now called upon to challenge themselves anew every year.
Goals from Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah ensured that the Reds took control of Group D.
With six out of six points, they have an ideal starting position for the summit and are preparing for the trip to Italy, where they will face the adventurous Atalanta, who played against Ajax at home, next week.
This is now the Champions League, a competition with a whirlwind and final whistle, which, according to the newly adapted calendar, must complete the countless group games at breakneck speed.
The lack of crowds and the dizzying nature of the whole thing leaves the most grandiose competition in Europe without its traditional pomp and ceremony, but Klopp will probably enjoy that if he continues to try to climb twin peaks at home and abroad.
After next week’s match in Italy, Liverpool will have completed half of a normally three-month group stage in just two weeks.
Such sight-seeing from a Champions League team would normally attract many onlookers in the city of Liverpool itself, but the Danes would have gone about their business unnoticed, so the Reds’ opponents were not really known.
Even Klopp was touched to mention this in his press conference on Monday when he urged the Danish journalists at the Zoom call to drop the inferiority complex and minnow-like view of the team they were supposed to be watching at Anfield.
In the run-up to the game, Midtjylland boss Brian Priske and his players decided to take an autumn walk through the city center to get up for their exalted opponents.