'Liverpool loss leaves sold-out Murrayfield lukewarm'

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool had a day to forget at a sold out Murrayfield

The thing you noticed was the colour. Red everywhere.

Red scarfs draped across the parcel shelves of cars trying to edge into the overflowing park and ride on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Red-shirted fans wedged on the trams towards Murrayfield a full two hours before kick off. Red clumps of merchandise stands outside and red splashed across the stands inside.

That Liverpool were playing in black mattered little. The thick end of 70,000 spectators had turned out to watch the European champions face Napoli in this pre-season friendly; each paying a significant wedge for the privilege.

Curious Scottish football fans were joined by wide-eyed kids, unwitting parents, day-tripping Scousers and the odd rambunctious Italian. It made for a odd scene. One young fella was determined to mark his day with a souvenir purchase. His father seemed less convinced by the propriety of the merchandise seller. But it was far from the only uneasy transaction surrounding this spectacle.

Some in the football community have wondered why this contest was at the home of Scottish rugby rather than at Hampden. Why another sport is benefitting from thousands of fans playing eye-watering ticket prices. Why that money wasn't instead going into their game.

Others have asked why it was even in Scotland at all. They point to the two Scottish League Cup matches happening within relatively easy reach of Edinburgh on the same afternoon and wonder how many of those watching a friendly between an English and an Italian side are doing so at the expense of those domestic games. The answer, you suspect, given this crowd and given the teams involved, is not all that many.

'This was not a traditional football crowd'

A crowd of 65,442 looked on at the highest attended football match in Scotland in 30 years
A crowd of 65,442 looked on at the highest attended football match in Scotland in 30 years

Take the reaction to the events on the pitch. When Napoli's Lorenzo Insigne darted infield and shaped a shot beyond Simon Mignolet with 17 minutes played, it was met with more of a surprised murmur than guttural roar. Then, when Arek Milik jabbed in an Insigne cross 10 minutes later, the sound was more akin to gentle deflation. This was not a traditional football crowd and this was not what they had come to see.

They had come to see Salah, Firmino and Mane. Van Dijk, Fabinho and Henderson. Star players, not teams. That the first three were not in attendance robbed the occasion of a little glamour, but a sizeable chunk had also come to see a star of their own. Andy Robertson.

Certainly, the reception that greeted the Scotland captain when his name was announced pre-match, and the increase in volume whenever he received the ball, suggested as much.

His withdrawal after 73 minutes fleetingly roused the crowd from the dwam that had settled since Liverpool conceded a third.

But the fact Robertson's impact on the game was peripheral was perhaps in keeping with this fixture. A spectacle that was happening in Scotland without ever really being part of Scottish football's own wonderfully unique eco-system.

Scotland captain Andy Robertson was given a rousing reception in Edinburgh
Scotland captain Andy Robertson was given a rousing reception in Edinburgh

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