Liverpool: Klopp lifts ban on touching 'This is Anfield' sign
In 2016, Liverpool's manager banned his players from touching the famous 'This is Anfield' sign before taking to the pitch - until they won a trophy...
Jürgen Klopp is clearly a man who respects tradition - he needs to at a club like Liverpool, one steeped not only in tradition but superstition and ritual. But three years ago he banned players from touching the fabled 'This is Anfield' sign as they emerged from the tunnel and out onto the pitch - the ban, he explained, would be held in place until the team won a trophy.
It was Bill Shankly who had the brainwave of placing a sign in a place where both the home players and the visiting team could see it just seconds before they stepped out onto the Anfield pitch. Shanks had a sign made, with the simple message 'This is Anfield' along with the club crest and screwed it to the wall shortly before he left the club in 1974. He reasoned that it served two purposes - " to remind our lads who they're playing for and to remind the opposition who they're playing against..."
For 42 years, Liverpool players would perform the ritual of touching the sign as they made their way out onto the pitch. That tradition came to an end three years ago on the coach's orders and only resume once they added some new silverware to the Anfield trophy room. "I've told my players not to touch the 'This Is Anfield' sign until they win something. It's a sign of respect," Klopp told The Times in April 2016.
Do not touch ban lifted
Following Liverpool's Champions League triumph in Madrid in June, the ban has been lifted - to the relief of players like Gini Wijnaldum who posted on Twitter: "Boss wouldn’t let us touch the sign until we won a trophy… now is the time. #ThisIsAnfield".
According to the English media, only Wijnaldum and captain Jordan Henderson touched the This is Anfield sign as the players took the field for their Premier League opener against Norwich on Friday.
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