Eriksson: YNWA makes me freeze

Tonight’s England match at Anfield is part of the country’s preparations for the World Cup, and Steven Gerrard says that by the time they’ve played this and their next two friendlies they’ll be ready and hungry. According to Stevie, England want to do really well in Germany: “By the time the first game comes around, this team will be ready. Fingers crossed we will keep everyone fit. I think you will see a hungry England team.”

As for resting for England games, Gerrard enjoys playing far too much to enjoy being left out: “I want to play in as many matches as possible. I want more nights like Istanbul. I’m sure if we were to reach the World Cup final, it would match it if not better it.” Although that last comment might upset some Liverpool fans, winning the World Cup would be an achievement up there with winning the European Cup. Stevie loves to play and England is his country – he wants as many medals as possible.

Stevie’s boss for England, for the time-being at least, is Swede Sven Goran Eriksson. Eriksson spoke today about how he had a chance to meet the great Joe Fagan during a visit to the Anfield boot room thirty years ago. Fagan was in Liverpool’s boot room during a long period of Liverpool’s success, taking on the manager’s job in time to win the European Cup, League and League Cup treble in 1984. Eriksson explained: “As a young man I came here to Anfield now and then, and I visited the famous bootroom. Joe Fagan invited me there thirty years ago. I saw them training and I saw them play in games many times and I learned many things.”

Eriksson is full of admiration for Fagan: “Joe was a very nice man and
I got to know him quite well. They were always very helpful and I
learned a lot. But I think all the world learned from the great
Liverpool teams of that time. They kept the ball, kept things simple.
It was very difficult to attack against them.”

Eriksson said Anfield was belonged to one of the “great, great clubs”,
and included a little dig at how the Reds don’t get on too well with
that lot from Trafford Borough: “You can smell the history of this
stadium. Liverpool have won the Champions League five times. It is one
of those great, great clubs. You can compare them with Bayern Munich,
Real Madrid, Manchester United you can’t forget, of course, although
maybe they would like to here! Ajax also.”

Eriksson says there’s one aspect of Anfield that is particularly
special – the anthem of Anfield: “You have one very special thing here
which makes me freeze and that’s ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ when it is
sung before the teams come out. I don’t know if they will sing it
tonight, probably not, but it is a very special song.”