England’s rugby league team play at Anfield for the first time tomorrow. Here, Wigan Athletic manager – and die-hard Liverpool fan – Paul Cook gives fans a guide to what they can expect...
“It’ll be a very, very good day out for any rugby league fan that’s going along. They need to get as close to the stadium as they can, and they’ll find a bar every 10 yards.
“They’ll think houses are houses... but they’re not. There are bars that sell alcohol – it’s readily available – very, very quickly. And just the whole old-school feel of a matchday is great, it really is.
“The closer you get to the ground, you get proper inner-city pubs, which cater for everybody and every occasion. Fans will find their own pub of choice. For us, we have a historical reason for going where we go.
“People want to be getting to the ground early - a couple of pints in - you always enjoy the game more that way.
“Anfield itself just captures atmosphere like no other.
“It has that unique way of generating an atmosphere from every corner of the ground, and it’ll be a great occasion.
“It’s funny, over the years in Liverpool, they speak about the ‘special nights’ at Anfield. Because it’s a club that’s had so many great nights, it’s so hard to recreate that on a week-by-week basis.
“When you do get the mundane home games, it can be a somewhat flatter and quieter place.
“But on the good nights, it’s just ‘wow’ – it absolutely rocks. You go back to last season, twice Manchester City were three goals down at half-time to Liverpool at Anfield.
“That just doesn’t happen. Manchester City don’t concede three goals in 10 games.
“The atmosphere had to play a part, it visibly shook the players out there on the field. Atmospheres play a massive part in shaping matches, and sometimes fans can forget what their role in on the day.
“I really wish the England lads well, and I’m sure it’ll be a good game at a traditionally unique stadium.
“The England lads will hopefully pick up on that very quickly, and that can raise the level of performance by a percentage that might prove to be the difference.”