Exc: “Laid Out For Him” – Westerveld Says ‘Nothing’ Can Stop Ex-Teammate Succeeding At Liverpool

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By Charlie Jefferies

Ahead of the Liverpool Legends match at Anfield next month, former goalkeeper Sander Westerveld spoke to Dan Clubbe in our latest episode of ‘In Conversation With’. Westerveld was part of the famous treble-winning Liverpool team in 2001 and made 75 appearances for the Reds.

The Dutchman highlighted his excitement at being involved in the charity match, and the eagerness of other Dutch legends to play in the fixture: “Everybody is really excited to be involved. I think they have 40 people who are trying to play at Anfield for Ajax, so they will really have to cut the list.

“So that says enough about Anfield and Liverpool, everybody wants to be involved, which I understand of course.”


The club recently announced that former England boss Sven-Göran Eriksson will be part of the Liverpool management team for the fixture. The Swede has publicly confirmed that he is battling cancer, and one of his final wishes is to lead Liverpool out at Anfield in his lifetime.

Westerveld was asked about the heartwarming decision, saying: “I must say I was really surprised and sad when he came out with the news. I thought well, in my mind, when he mentioned that Liverpool was his favourite club, I already knew that Liverpool would do something for him, for sure.

“Then of course with the fans on social media, starting to push for him to be involved in the charity game, I thought this is the perfect occasion. It sums up what Liverpool stands for as well, and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is what Liverpool stands for. I don’t think any other club in the world would do stuff like this.”


After his recent heroics, particularly in the Carabao Cup Final, Caoimhin Kelleher has become a fan-favourite again at Liverpool. Westerveld, who won the League Cup with Liverpool himself, was full of praise for the Irishman: “We know what he is capable of doing, he is an amazing goalkeeper. Caoimhin is just so important, and it shows the importance of having a squad. Not only an eleven of good players, but we need a (second-choice) goalkeeper who can step up. I’ve said it on television many times, the fans and me, if Allison has an injury, everybody is like ‘It’s okay, we have Caoimhin’. That says enough.”

‘HE’S THE PERFECT FIT FOR LIVERPOOL’ – Former LFC Goalkeeper Sander Westerveld on Xabi Alonso

As previously mentioned, Westerveld himself was a League Cup winner for Liverpool, as well as an FA Cup and UEFA Cup winner in the 2000/01 season. Westerveld was asked how important winning that trophy was for the success of his Liverpool team, and the current one was well. “It is a bit different now. Now, I feel thank god we have a cup to give to Jurgen, at least we have won something this season. I think in 2001, it was the first trophy we won after like 10 years. Liverpool had dropped the standard, when I signed in ‘99 we weren’t even playing European football. We were building a team, and we wanted to make the club a top club, to bring them back to the top.

“So to win that League Cup, although some fans call it a ‘Mickey Mouse cup’, for us it was a stepping stone, a trampoline to get that feeling of winning. That’s what Liverpool is, winning trophies. We had that burning desire to win more stuff.”

One of the hottest topics of discussion for Liverpool fans recently is the academy. The performances of Jayden Danns, Conor Bradley and Bobby Clark, just to name a few, have created incredible excitement for the future of Liverpool. Sander Westerveld was asked about the success of the youngsters, especially as he shared a pitch with a teenage Steven Gerrard.

“It’s exciting times. I was playing for Sociedad when a young Xabi Alonso was there, so it is really exciting to see these kinds of players develop. If I look at the Premier League, or even in Europe, I don’t see a team with so many academy players in their first team that are so young. Barcelona sometimes have a 16-year-old, last season 17, 18-year-olds, but never so many. It is not like they just bring them on either, Danns yesterday he scored twice. I can’t think of one player who has ‘just played’, all of them have made an impact. Talking about Bradley when he came in, it’s unbelievable how good they are. I think the future looks amazing for Liverpool.


After he mentioned that he played with him, the inevitable question regarding Xabi Alonso was asked to Westerveld. “At the moment, I think he is the perfect fit for Liverpool. I know him from when he was the coach of the reserves at Real Sociedad, and in his first year, he got promoted for the first time in their history.

“He joined Leverkusen when they were 13th or 14th, near the bottom. Any manager can come in and have good players and get results, like Man United, they get results but they play badly. At Leverkusen, he changed the whole club, they are unbeaten, they play the best football and they are top of the league. That says enough. He’s got all the experience as a footballer, playing for all the big teams. Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, and Liverpool won the Champions League.

“There is nothing that can hold him back from being an amazing coach at Liverpool. It is almost laid out for him.”

Tickets remain on sale with over 50,000 sold so far, get yours to help support the work of LFC Foundation, who are helping to change lives every day through their work, last year alone it supported over 120,000 individuals. LFC Foundation to develop and support projects to tackle a range of social issues including poor educational outcomes, youth unemployment and young people becoming involved in gangs and crime. 


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