'Like a dream': Eriksson on leading Liverpool for his last game as a manager

By John Mercury March 24, 2024

Sven-Goran Eriksson has said it is “like a dream” to be taking charge of Liverpool for a charity match at Anfield this weekend, which he acknowledges will be his last as a football manager.

The 76-year-old former England boss, who revealed earlier this year he had terminal cancer, will be part of the Reds management team for the Legends game against Ajax.

In an interview with Sky News in January, Eriksson said he had “always wished to be the manager of Liverpool”, having been a lifelong fan.

And his wish was granted following a campaign by the club’s fans.

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January: Sven-Goran Eriksson’s hopes for final days

Speaking at a news conference ahead of the LFC Foundation fundraiser, the Swede said: “It’s like a dream.

“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’m very honoured and thankful to Liverpool that they gave me this opportunity.

“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.”

Eriksson said his love of Liverpool came from his father supporting the team.

Sven-Goran Eriksson
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Eriksson says his love of Liverpool came from his father, who remains an avid fan. Pic: AP

He also said that around 1979, when he was a young manager back in Sweden, he had written to the 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.”

Read more:
Eriksson says terminal cancer diagnosis was ‘shock’

Eriksson said his father’s interest in the Merseyside team remains strong, saying: “He will not miss one game on television when Liverpool are playing. He phoned me the other day because he couldn’t find the right channel.

“The amazing thing is this game is going to be on television in Sweden live, so he will see it.”

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

Eriksson 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.

Sven-Goran Eriksson during a training session ahead of SoccerAid at Mottram Hall in Mottram, Greater Manchester. Picture date: Thursday September 2, 2021.
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Eriksson spent five years in charge at England

On his five-year England tenure, Eriksson, who feels Gareth Southgate’s team have a “huge chance” of winning this summer’s Euros in Germany, said: “If you are the coach or manager of England, that for me is the biggest job you ever can have.

“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.”

Asked if he missed management, the ex-Lazio, Manchester City and Leicester boss said: “If I said no, I would lie. Of course you miss it.

“But I realise that I am a certain age. It’s okay. 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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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.

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