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23rd Mar 2024

Sven-Goran Eriksson to fulfil lifelong dream of managing Liverpool today

Ryan Price

The former England manager will be in the Anfield dugout for the annual legends match.

Sven Goran Eriksson will take charge of the Liverpool Legends team today as they host Ajax at Anfield.

It’s the first time that the 76-year-old will manage the Reds, and he has described the honour as being “like a dream”.

Eriksson, who was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer earlier this year, became the first foreign England manager when he was appointed in 2001 and subsequently led the team to the quarter-finals of two World Cups and one European Championship.

He also achieved a lot of success at club level, winning silverware with Benfica, Roma, Lazio, and managed more than a dozen clubs in a glittering career.

As a huge Liverpool fan, Eriksson has always held the ambition of managing his boyhood club.

Yesterday, Channel 4 Sport posted a clip of Eriksson reacting to a series of video messages from his former England player’s.

Speaking at a press conference earlier this week ahead of this weekend’s LFC Foundation fundraiser game, the Swede revealed that back in 1979, when he was a young manager in his home country, he had written to Liverpool football club asking if he could come to watch some training, and received an invitation in reply.

“I saw a game and some training, I was honoured to go into the boot room. That was great, fantastic,” he said.

“All the training sessions, they were playing one touch, two touches.

“The quality of the play was incredible, and ‘make it simple’ the coaches told me. I learned a lot, of course.”

Earlier this year, Eriksson was also invited by current Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp to sit in the dugout, like he had always dreamed of doing.

“I heard for the first time about his admiration or love for Liverpool and that he was a fan for his whole life,” Klopp said.

“He’s very welcome to come here and he can sit in my seat in my office and do my job for a day if he wants – that’s no problem. To have him here and show him everything and how this wonderful club developed over the years, I think that’s definitely something we will tell him.

“He can come over and have a few wonderful hours here I’m sure.”

After hearing about the former Manchester City manager’s diagnosis, Liverpool fans took to social media to call for Eriksson to take charge of a legends team.

Former Liverpool midfielder Luis Garcia was among those who called for the appointment.

And former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler joined the conversation, saying that a call had been made about making it happen.

Now, at 3pm this afternoon, the Swede’s dream will become a reality when he leads a host of club legend’s through to the Anfield tunnel and out onto the Anfield pitch.

Among the team sheet are European Cup winners Jerzy Dudek, Sami Hyypia and Steven Gerrard. Spanish striker Fernando Torres is expected to lead the line up front, with Dirk Kuyt and Djibril Cisse also available as striker options.

Speaking at yesterday’s press conference, Eriksson said: “When I was a manager I always dreamt about Liverpool, but that never happened.

“It was close once, it was some discussion once, many years ago… it never happened. But now it happens. When they asked, I thought it was a joke. I said of course, and then it’s charity, which makes it even more lovely.

“‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is magic. I’m looking forward to it.

“I think it must be maybe the best atmosphere in the world, in all big football stadiums I have been to, and part of that is the song when the players come out. The atmosphere is incredible.”

Head of Football at Liverpool Echo, Joe Rimmer, posted on Twitter about his excitement at attending the game alongside his son.

With close to 60,000 tickets sold, there is set to be a record crowd in attendance for what is the eighth annual LFC Foundation match.

Previous games have raised more than £6.4m for charity.