I found playing at Anfield more difficult than Old Trafford. You had space at Manchester United, but at Anfield, you can almost touch the supporters, they’re that close. That is not nice for the opposition team.
Anfield was one of the first grounds I visited. It was in the 1970s, I was playing for Oxford Boys, and me and my team-mates were North West-bound in a minibus. We were due to play the best teams in the area, stay over in a YMCA then head home.
We had spent six months saving up, and thought we’d take in a Liverpool game at Anfield. So we park up outside the stadium and head in to watch the match.
Martin Keown played Liverpool at Anfield seven times for Arsenal and found it very difficult
When we return, someone had broken in and stolen all the boots — everyone’s except mine. The thieves probably noticed mine were from Woolworths and decided not to bother! All my team-mates had to find replacements so we could play against the Liverpool and Manchester lads the next day.
But the stand-out memory was what it was like to be inside Anfield. To be that close, to feel the passion, to see full back Phil Neal playing with such poise and quality. It was special.
Anfield is such a difficult place to go.
I played there seven times with Arsenal and won only once, but that was one of my proudest moments.
Seeing players such a defender Phil Neale up close was an incredibly special experience
Keown only tasted victory once at Anfield, as Arsenal captain in a 2-1 win in December 2001
It came on December 23, 2001, and I was captain.
In the 36th minute, Giovanni van Bronckhorst was sent off. Then in the 45th, Thierry Henry scored from the penalty spot and in the 53rd, Freddie Ljungberg doubled our lead. Wow.
Who goes 2-0 up at Anfield with 10 men? Only us, apparently, because no other team in the Premier League era has ever had a man sent off and taken a two-goal lead there!
Jari Litmanen made it 2-1, but we held on. I knew the significance. We went on to be crowned champions and also beat Liverpool in the FA Cup en route to lifting that trophy.
Winning at Anfield is one of football’s toughest challenges. It is the ultimate away test.
Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang claims Arsenal are ready to match the big clubs. Their performance at Anfield will tell us where they are.