Sami: Winning trophies is important

Sami Hyypia will be lining up against West Ham in Cardiff this afternoon longing for the chance to repeat the feelings he had five years ago when the Reds won the famous trophy against Arsenal. Liverpool came back from 1-0 down after looking to have been well and truly beaten and he looks back fondly: “When we won the Cup in 2001 in Cardiff it was one of the best days of my life. To be 1-0 down with Arsenal dominating the game and then to come back with two goals from Michael Owen, the second out of nowhere, was something very special.”

Today is Liverpool’s chance to make it two trophies for the season, following on from the Super Cup. Hyypia says: “It is certainly important for this club to win trophies every year, the fans expect that and we expect that of ourselves. This time last year we were preparing for the Champions League final, it is important for the future of the club that we play in such games. We have to keep going and keep looking to achieve things at this level.”

Sami recalls how last season could have been seen as a disappointment after a poor league campaign had the Reds not gone on to glory in Istanbul. This season he says that as much as they’d love to win the FA Cup the season wouldn’t be a failure without it: “Last season the Champions League final made our season, but this time around this game is not at that importance because we have played well and achieved something in the Premier League. The FA Cup would be a real bonus.”

Rafa has improved the squad and will aim to improve it again in the summer. Sami says the Reds have been much better this season than last: “We have improved on last season, when we had so many injuries. It was a pity to go out of the Champions League but you must realise you can’t win it every season. We are happy with the way things are going for us and the club, and we must keep this going.”

The season that started 10 months ago finally comes to an end, and Sami was asked if he felt Liverpool might be too tired for this game: “I don’t think so with one final to go. My legs will hold out for one more game. If you asked any of the lads how they felt, they would say ‘fine’ because everyone wants to play in the final.”

Rafa has made a point throughout the season of not letting the players dwell on how tired they might feel, and it seems he’s won that psychological battle: “It has been a long season, but because things have gone well the mental tiredness has not bothered us. That is more difficult to overcome than physical tiredness; any player will say they are okay now.”

Sami’s home country Finland didn’t qualify for the World Cup so unlike many of his team-mates he’ll be able to put his feet up for a while after today – a lot longer than he got last season: “I know I have a break after the final. Last season we had about three weeks off because of the early start to the season. I am a little jealous of the lads going to the World Cup, but I know I will have a longer holiday than them.”