Anfield has been included among the top five Premier League venues in The Athletic‘s ranking of current top-flight stadia, but one significant drawback has seen it miss out on first place.
Each of the 20 grounds was ranked by four weighted criteria – matchday experience (40% of overall score), atmosphere (25%), transport/location (20%) and aesthetics/design (15%) – with a score out of 10 for each category.
The results were determined by the publication’s working panel and some of their journalists, plus a stadium architectural historian and guidance from the Football Supporters’ Association.
Liverpool’s home ground ranked fifth in the final placings, scoring joint-highest for atmosphere and second for design but falling down significantly for its location, the category for which it ranked 13th.
Joining Anfield in the top five were, in ascending order, the Emirates Stadium, Old Trafford, St James’ Park and, at the summit, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Newcastle’s home ground is perfectly situated in the city centre, while Spurs’ relatively new home is a fantastic venue, but for Anfield to have been beaten by Arsenal and Manchester United’s stadia will feel galling for Liverpool fans.
Granted, getting to and from the Reds’ iconic stadium on a matchday can be tricky, given its location in a residential area, with parking difficult to come by and bus services (with invariably long queues) being the only public transport link.
However, has any other top-flight venue in England witnessed so many mythical moments quite like Anfield? It’s a ground which holds memories whose legend passes down through generations, and not just from a bygone era – that night against Barcelona in 2019 will still be talked about in 30 years’ time and beyond.
We might be partisan, but The Athletic‘s Oliver Kay spoke from a position of neutrality in saying that “when the Anfield atmosphere is at its most raucous, it is unmistakable — possibly unrivalled”.
Also, as James Pearce pointed out (via The Athletic), a certain Pep Guardiola once stated that “the motto ‘This is Anfield’ is no marketing spin”.
Other stadia might be bigger, or newer, or provide an easier transportation experience, but we wouldn’t swap the indescribable aura of Liverpool’s iconic home for any other venue in England, or indeed the world.
If you’ve been there and held a scarf aloft while singing along to You’ll Never Walk Alone with all your might before kick-off, you’ll know.