Reds’ new No 10 not here to make up numbers

Andriy Voronin was officially unveiled by Liverpool
yesterday after signing on a free transfer this summer. The Ukrainian
international has played in Germany since his teens but when Liverpool showed
interest in him he couldn’t resist the opportunity, one he’s been hoping for
since playing at Anfield against Liverpool a couple of seasons ago.

One of the first things he noticed was that the atmosphere
within the club was extremely friendly, he’s been made to feel very welcome: “I
am pleased to be here finally,” he told the official site. “I am very excited
to be at a new club and especially one where all the players and staff are so
friendly. I’ve noticed how the atmosphere here is really good. The club is
helping me and my girlfriend find somewhere to live. I’m currently living in a
hotel but hopefully that’ll change in the next few days.”

What was it that brought him to Anfield? He said: “After
being in Germany for 12 years I felt it was time for a change, and then even
more so when the offer came in from Liverpool. It’s such a famous and big club
– one of the most famous in the world. You can’t resist an offer like that. The
task in front of Liverpool at the start of every season is to win trophies and
I want to be part of that. I want to help Liverpool achieve things.”

It was when playing for Bayer Leverkusen in 2005 that he
first experienced Anfield on a European night and he says it was an “unforgettable”
experience: “I will never forget that night, even though my team didn’t perform
as well as we could. Even for an opposition player, the supporters and the
atmosphere in that stadium were unforgettable, and definitely the thing I
remember most from that match. The Liverpool fans are world famous, and though
this was not the only reason I decided to join this club, it was certainly one
of the main reasons. I can’t wait to play at Anfield in a red shirt.”

That Red shirt will have a number 10 on the back after
Liverpool announced the squad numbers for the new season. Pepe Reina has
decided to hold on to his number 25 jersey, meaning the club does not currently
have a player wearing the number 1.

The same question that was asked of Fernando Torres earlier
in the week was asked of Voronin – how sure he is that he can settle into the
English game: “I am confident,” said Voronin. “If I wasn’t confident, I would
not have made the decision to come here. I feel I can adapt and be a success in
the English game.”

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez said of the new signing:
“He is a player with pace and with good movement. He plays between the
lines, between defenders. He is a good worker also, and he scores goals. He’s
not the kind of player you can talk about strengths because he has many things
he can give to us.”

Rafa says that all the club’s international players – with the
exception of those such as Mascherano and Insua who are actually still on international
duty – have now started training. It seems that the younger players have been
trying to show the boss what they can do, and they’ll have another opportunity
to do that today against Wrexham. Rafa isn’t planning to play any of the
international players today: “We will see how they are, but normally you could
expect them to play next week against Crewe. We only had five senior players
back last week. We’ve had the young players, and you can see the commitment in
them. Sometimes you have to tell them to calm down because they tackle hard and
fight for each ball.”

Those younger players know that if they impress the boss
enough they may get a number of chances to push for a place in the first team
squad more often, rather than being held back in the reserves. They also know
that some of them will be spending all or part of the season on loan at other
clubs to try and gain some experience. The reserve system is simply not good
enough to help bigger clubs like Liverpool develop their younger players,
although at least next season reserve fixtures will require slightly less
travelling. Liverpool have agreed a deal with Super League side Warrington
Wolves to play all the home reserve fixtures at their Halliwell Jones stadium.