Home News “Absolutely beautiful” – Emotional Sven-Goran Eriksson savours fulfilling Liverpool dream

“Absolutely beautiful” – Emotional Sven-Goran Eriksson savours fulfilling Liverpool dream

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An emotional Sven-Goran Eriksson described the experience as “absolutely beautiful” after his long-held dream of managing Liverpool was fulfilled at Saturday’s charity match at a packed Anfield.

The 76-year-old former England boss, who in January revealed he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, grew up a Liverpool supporter and being in charge of the team was something he had always wanted to do.

That became reality as Eriksson, alongside former Reds stars Ian Rush, John Barnes and John Aldridge, oversaw a side that beat Ajax 4-2 in an LFC Foundation ‘Legends’ game.

The Swede admitted he had shed tears both just before the match, when he received a standing ovation from the crowd as he walked out on to the pitch, before taking in You’ll Never Walk Alone with the players and coaching teams, and after it when they walked around the pitch to more applause.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Eriksson said: “That will be a huge memory in life. Absolutely beautiful.

“To sit on the bench for Liverpool, that’s been my dream my whole life. Now it happened, and it was a beautiful day in all meanings.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 23, 2024: Liverpool's Fernando Torres (C) celebrates after scoring the third goal during the LFC Foundation match between Liverpool FC Legends and Ajax FC Legends at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“The crowd, the game, the players, everything, fantastic, and thank you to Liverpool for giving me this opportunity, to invite me for such an important game – it’s not points but the importance of the game is incredible.

“It was full of emotions, tears coming. It’s been my dream club all my life – even when I had England, I also supported Liverpool, but I couldn’t say it at that time.

“It’s a good finish, to finish with Liverpool, it can’t be much better than that.”

Part of the build-up to the game for Eriksson – who said he was “quite sure” his Liverpool-supporting father had watched the match live on Swedish television – was meeting Jurgen Klopp.

And Eriksson said of the Liverpool boss: “It was the first time I met him. It was a surprise, he came to the dressing room before training yesterday and he said something to the team.

“A great man, great manager, doing extremely well with Liverpool and can win in Europe, win the Premier League this season. It was an honour to meet him for sure.”

The Liverpool ‘Legends’ were captained by Steven Gerrard, the former club skipper and England player during Eriksson’s tenure.

Gerrard – whose second half on Saturday included being approached by a young fan who ran on the pitch before being led away by security – told LFCTV: “Sven being here today was very special.

“As soon as I knew he was going to be gaffer today, I couldn’t wait to come and play for him one more time.”

After being 2-0 down at the interval via goals from Derk Boerrigter and Kiki Musampa, Liverpool turned things around in the second half with Gregory Vignal, Djibril Cisse, Nabil El Zhar and Fernando Torres getting on the scoresheet.

The attendance of around 60,000 was a record for what was the eighth annual Liverpool ‘Legends’ match, the previous editions of which have raised £6.4million.

LFC Foundation will use money raised to support its education programmes and Forever Reds, the club’s official former players association.