Fans make Liverpool feel at home even as Bayern Munich spoil their Kallang party

The electrifying mood in the stands filtered down to the pitch as Liverpool shifted into high gear from the get-go.

Deepanraj Ganesan

Deepanraj Ganesan

The Straits Times


Liverpool’s coach Jurgen Klopp waves to fans after the friendly match between Liverpool and Bayern Munich. ST PHOTO: ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

August 3, 2023

SINGAPORE – It was as though National Day arrived a week early.

Throngs of bodies clad in red, a party-like atmosphere and plenty of song and dance.

Singapore will celebrate its 58th birthday on Aug 9 but there was a celebration of football on Wednesday as Bayern Munich beat Liverpool 4-3 in a pre-season friendly at the National Stadium.

While the majority of the 49,983 crowd that had come for Liverpool went home without seeing a Reds win, there was more than enough to make for an unforgettable night.

The goodies for the attendees inside the Kallang venue arrived in a bag full of goals as the teams shared seven strikes between them and plenty of high-quality action.

Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel called it a “proper away game”, referencing the support for the Reds inside the stadium.

He said: “We expected that (the atmosphere). Malaysia and Singapore have a lot of Liverpool fans and the intensity (of the match) didn’t surprise me.

“It was maybe a bit tougher for us because I think they started (pre-season) earlier and they will start their season earlier and for us, it was the last day of a 10-day trip in Asia. So it was important to match the intensity and not to be too shy and to stand up and accept the fight.”

His Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp, who admitted he hated losing, saw “a lot of good things and some things which I didn’t like” from his players.

But he was all smiles when talking about the fans, adding: “The atmosphere was great. The people created something really special. We felt it from the first second. (We felt) super welcome, that’s intense as well.

“People were waiting everywhere for us. But I will not miss opening a door and seeing everybody cheering. I will be really happy if I can open the door at home and nobody’s cheering.”

The majority of the 49,983 crowd had come for Liverpool. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Last Sunday, Liverpool had played the first of their two matches here but there was a flat atmosphere with 28,597 fans in attendance as the Reds thumped Leicester City 4-0.

But it proved to be the dress rehearsal for Wednesday’s full parade.

This was only meant to be a friendly but the evening began with AC/DC’s Thunderstruck as the players marched out of the tunnel like gladiators prepared for battle.

Unlike at the Padang next week, there was no national anthem, but there was still a goosebumps-inducing soundtrack as the crowd belted out You’ll Never Walk Alone with gusto just before kick-off.


The electrifying mood in the stands filtered down to the pitch as Liverpool shifted into high gear from the get-go.

A quick one-two from Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo saw the Dutch attacker ghost clear of the Bayern defence and slam home the opening goal in the second minute.

Even as the football on the pitch mellowed, the Kallang Roar got fans on their feet.

In the 28th minute, the fans leapt up again just like their new captain Virgil van Dijk, whose header extended Liverpool’s lead.

Serge Gnabry struck back for Bayern just five minutes later when he latched onto South Korean defender Kim Min-jae’s ball over the top and jinked past Joel Matip before beating Alisson Becker.

Gnabry turned provider three minutes before half-time as he teed up former Manchester City winger Leroy Sane to score the equaliser.

In the second half, there were more Liverpool-centric chants, even as a pocket of Bayern supporters tried to make their voices heard.

Allez, Allez, Allez they sang in the stands before Colombian winger Luis Diaz responded in the 66th minute as he evaded a challenge from Josip Stanisic before unleashing a piledriver into the net.

In the second half, there were more Liverpool-centric chants even as a corner of Bayern supporters tried to get their voices heard. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

But Stanisic made amends in the 80th minute by tucking in the rebound after an initial save from Alisson.

The final goal of the night arrived in stoppage time as Bayern youth product Frans Kratzig produced a spectacular effort worthy of a winning goal. For once, the Liverpool fans went quiet.

While the goals alone would have been enough to keep the fans entertained, the individual battles on the field proved to be a fascinating subplot.

In the first half, it was Mohamed Salah’s battle with Bayern’s speed machine Alphonso Davies.

The second period saw Andy Robertson having to contend with the trickery and swiftness of Bayern’s French winger Kingsley Coman, before Liverpool’s Scottish left-back was substituted just after the hour mark.

This was Liverpool’s penultimate match of their pre-season, which will conclude with a fixture against Darmstadt 98 in England on Monday, before their opening English Premier League game away to Chelsea on Aug 13.

Bayern’s campaign starts with a German Super Cup clash against RB Leipzig on Aug 12.

Wednesday’s encounter also brought an end to the week-long Festival of Football, which began last Wednesday with Tottenham Hotspur’s 5-1 win over local side Lion City Sailors in front of 25,095 fans.

After another year of being serenaded by local Reds, Liverpool – who also played here in 2022 – can head back to England on Wednesday night thinking of Singapore as a second home, truly.

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