Eriksson says managing Liverpool in charity game 'like a dream'

AFP , Friday 22 Mar 2024

Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson said Friday it felt "like a dream" to be taking charge of Liverpool for their charity match against Ajax at Anfield.

Sven-Goran Eriksson
Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson during a press conference at the AXA Training Centre, Liverpool, England, Friday, March 22, 2024. Liverpool Legends and Ajax Legends face each other in the LFC Foundation's Official Legends Charity Match on Saturday. Photo: AP


The 76-year-old Swede revealed in January had "best case a year" to live after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

At the time, former Manchester City and Lazio boss Eriksson revealed his lifelong love for Liverpool and how he had always wished to be manager of the club one day.

Liverpool responded by announcing Eriksson, who guided England to the quarter-finals of the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, will be part of their management team for Saturday's game against Ajax.

"It's like a dream," Eriksson told a pre-match press conference on Friday.

"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."

Eriksson explained his love of Liverpool derived from his father of being a fan of the club.

'Boot Room honour'

Eriksson also said that around 1979, when he was a young manager in Sweden, he wrote to Liverpool asking if he could watch one of their training sessions.

Liverpool were then managed by Bob Paisley and Eriksson was delighted to receive an invitation to Anfield.

"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."

Eriksson will have former Liverpool players Ian Rush, John Barnes and John Aldridge alongside him on the touchline as he oversees a 'legends' side including Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.

Eriksson, the first foreign manager of England when appointed in 2001, said being in charge of the national side remained a career highlight.

"If you are the coach or manager of England, that for me is the biggest job you ever can have," he said.

"We didn't win anything, but I was extremely proud and happy every day I had that job because I know it is one of the biggest football jobs you can have in the world. It is very special."

Eriksson, asked if he missed management, said: "If I said no, I would lie. Of course you miss it.

"But I realise that I am a certain age. It's OK. What I have done, I have done, and I'm happy about that. Now it's over, almost -- this will be the last game I suppose. So that's great."

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