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The story behind Liverpool's 'This is Anfield' tunnel sign, restored by Brendan Rodgers

Josh Lawless

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The story behind Liverpool's 'This is Anfield' tunnel sign, restored by Brendan Rodgers

Liverpool's 'This is Anfield' sign is an iconic symbol of one of the world's biggest football clubs and many players have touched it as part of a pre-match ritual.

In fact, Wout Weghorst caused a huge stir recently when he was seen touching it ahead of Manchester United's 7-0 hammering at the hands of Liverpool.

In a statement, the Dutchman claimed he was trying to wind up compatriot Virgil van Dijk, who regularly touches the sign - though not many people were buying his explanation.

The sign, which is in on the wall of tunnel as the players walk out, is of major significance to Liverpool. As per This Is Anfield,

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it was first installed by the legendary Bill Shankly, on the recommendation of a groundsman.

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The purpose was to remind his players who they were representing but let the opposition know who they were playing against.

However, the sign was going have the words, 'Welcome to Anfield' at first before Shankly intervened and changed its name.

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Incredibly, it's said the first of three signs ended up at a bar in a bed and breakfast in the Isle of Man, with a second being introduced by Bob Paisley back in 1974 and remaining for 24 years in some glorious times for Liverpool.

A new version was then fixed up but in 2012, when Brendan Rodgers took the reins at Liverpool, he helped restore the second sign.

The story goes that Rodgers found it in a storeroom weeks after being appointed Liverpool manager and demanded it take its pride of place in the tunnel once again.

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Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy

"When you come into a football club, you need to have a real sense of the past, a sense of the present and a sense of the future," Rodgers told the official Liverpool website.

"And the nostalgia around this football club is immense. I just felt that this was a sign and a symbol of what Liverpool was for many years.

"The sign was taken down in 1998 but it was there from 1974 until that point and the period of success within that was phenomenal.

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"So for me, it's a mark of the Anfield of old. We're very much in the modern era but I think it's very important to remember the great past of this football club and the 'This is Anfield' sign is a massive part of that."

Image: Liverpool FC
Image: Liverpool FC

When Jurgen Klopp arrived at the club in 2015, he enforced a ban on his players touching the sign until they won a trophy.

"I've told my players not to touch the 'This Is Anfield' sign until they win something," he said at the start of his reign.

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"It's a sign of respect."

Under Klopp, Liverpool have won one Premier League title, one Champions League, the Carabao Cup, FA Cup, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup and so the vast majority of the squad have earned the right to touch the sign.

However, new signings Cody Gakpo, Calvin Ramsay and Arthur Melo as well as Nat Phillips, Stefan Bajcetic and Rhys Williams, are technically banned from performing the gesture.

It's not stopped Gakpo, however, as he has been spotted breaking the 'unwritten rule' prior to games against Everton and United.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Liverpool, Wout Weghorst, Cody Gakpo, Manchester United, Jurgen Klopp, Brendan Rodgers

Josh Lawless
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