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Jari Litmanen: ‘I grew up with Liverpool and played for them, this is my club’

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Jari Litmanen played for both the Reds and Ajax during his playing career, but he views Liverpool as ‘his club’ having grown up as a supporter before ever donning the Liverbird.

The 53-year-old was back at Anfield over the weekend for a brilliant cause, donning both the Ajax and Liverpool shirts for the latest Legends match.

Litmanen spent 18 months with the club in the early 2000s, and it saw him realise a dream having been captivated by the Reds sides of the 1970s and ’80s.

He would go on to make 43 appearances, and there would have been a lot more had it not been for frustrating injuries – but he added another to the tally as a Legend.

“It was a great experience, of course, because I played for both clubs, and both are the two most important clubs for me,” Litmanen told This Is Anfield.

“Ajax [I played] most of my years as a player and [had the] most successful period, but Liverpool is my club. I grew up with Liverpool and I had a chance to play for this club for a while.

“Both teams in the dressing room [I saw] a lot of familiar faces, team-mates or legends of Liverpool – [John] Aldridge, [Ian] Rush, [John] Barnes and, of course, Sven-Goran Eriksson.

“It was a really nice experience.”

That it was, especially considering it has been 10 years since Litmanen last played at Anfield in a charity match.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, March 14, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 2nd Leg match between Liverpool FC and AC Sparta Praha at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Finn has been keeping a close eye on Liverpool this season and was asked about their chances of silverware, and he knows as well as we do that the margin is going to be very “narrow.”

Jurgen Klopp has done a great job as manager of Liverpool and, of course, he is the only person to give the answer for why he wanted to leave now, but he will be one of the greatest ever managers for the club, that’s for sure.

“It looks good [this season], a big fight for those trophies, but that’s top football, that’s the Premier League.

“They have all the quality to be No. 1, but of course we know the difference at the top is so narrow, so things can happen.

“Let’s see, hoping for the best.”