Kyle Walker becomes latest player to make big Liverpool mistake opponents never learn from


Luis Diaz of Liverpool and Kyle Walker of Manchester City in action during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City at Anfield on March 10, 2024 in Liverpool, England. 

Manchester City captain Kyle Walker was as good as his word. But, ultimately, it made absolutely no difference to Liverpool.

"If I play and I win the coin toss, I'm flipping them," the England man had said ahead of Sunday's Premier League showdown at Anfield, and promptly did so having correctly called how the throw from referee Michael Oliver would land.

Small margins are often decisive in such seismic fixtures - such as a dismissed last-minute penalty shout - and tradition dictates Liverpool would much rather be kicking towards the Kop in the second half.

However, Walker appears to have overlooked the fact it seems ending the game attacking the Anfield Road End makes no difference to Jurgen Klopp's side these days. Indeed, with almost 6,000 extra supporters now in the £80million redevelopment, what was once the lesser of the four stands has become a baying mass of its own.

Yes, it helps that Liverpool's home record - particularly under Klopp - is phenomenal, having lost only one Premier League game in front of paying supporters since April 2017. But statistics show approaching a full decade has passed since the Reds last lost a home game in any competition when asked to kick towards the Kop in the first half.

City, of course, were able to hold on to a 1-1 draw following a rousing second-half comeback from Liverpool. They were the fourth team this season to turn the Reds around in the first half, with Newcastle United beaten 4-2 and Nottingham Forest dismissed 3-0, although Manchester United were able to eke out a goalless draw.

Newcastle did the same last term only to lose 2-1, and while Brighton - the next Premier League visitors at the end of the month - could point to a 3-3 draw, Everton were beaten 2-0.

Newcastle, City and Brighton have regularly looked to ask Liverpool to kick towards the Kop first half, with City earning a 2-2 draw in 2021/22. Brighton did likewise that campaign, but AC Milan, Shrewsbury Town and Villarreal were all beaten. The previous term, Tottenham Hotspur were downed.

Leicester City, Arsenal, Newcastle and, in the FA Cup, Everton were defeated in 2019/20, and in 2018/19 Liverpool kicked towards the Kop first half four times, with West Ham United, Paris Saint-Germain, Newcastle and Wolverhampton Wanderers all vanquished.

The previous season, Manchester City were beaten in both the Champions League quarter-final and Premier League. Brighton were thrashed 4-0 on the final day, although Burnley and Tottenham at least earned draws. 

In 2016/17, Stoke City and Middlesbrough were overcome in the Premier League having won the toss, while West Ham United and Chelsea came away with a point.

And in 2015/16 there was a similar return, with Villarreal thumped 3-0 in the Europa League semi-final, Everton thrashed 4-0 in the league and Bournemouth beaten 1-0. Sunderland and Newcastle secured 2-2 draws.

Not since 2014/15 have Liverpool last lost a home game when attacking the Kop in the first 45 minutes, a campaign in which Blackburn Rovers later held out for a goalless draw in the FA Cup after winning the toss while Burnley, Tottenham and West Ham were all beaten.

The last away team to win both the toss and the match at Anfield? Real Madrid, who triumphed 3-0 in their Champions League group game visit in October 2014. It has been clear for some time that winning the toss isn't the advantage away teams hope it could be.

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