International Soccer

‘It’s a memory for life’

Sven-Goran Eriksson hailed his experience of being Liverpool manager for the day at Anfield in a legends charity match as a “memory for life”.

Eriksson was handed control of a Liverpool Legends side featuring the likes of Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Daniel Agger and Jerzy Dudek for the clash with Ajax Legends, having revealed it as a personal dream in the wake of his terminal cancer diagnosis earlier this year.

“I think everybody was a winner today and it was beautiful, absolutely fantastic, incredible – everything from You’ll Never Walk Alone and the rest of the match, and a good win – we were 2-0 down and won 4-2!” the former England boss reflected afterwards.

“I was crying [during You’ll Never Walk Alone]. [It is] a memory for life.”

The 75-year-old, who was England’s first foreign head coach during his reign between 2001 and 2006, said in January he has “best case a year” to live and “worst case a lot less”.

Sven-Goran Eriksson

Eriksson was visibly emotional at Anfield / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Reflecting on his ambition being fulfilled on Saturday, Eriksson continued: “To sit on the bench for Liverpool, that’s been my dream my whole life. Now it happened, and it was a beautiful day in all meanings. The crowd, the game, the players, everything, fantastic, and thank you to Liverpool for giving me this opportunity, to invite me for such an important game – it’s not points, but the importance of the game is incredible.

“It was full of emotions, tears coming. It’s been my dream club all my life – even when I had England, I also supported Liverpool, but I couldn’t say it at that time. It’s a good finish, to finish with Liverpool, it can’t be much better than that.”

Eriksson’s managerial career spanned 42 years, from his first job with Degefor in his native Sweden in 1977 until stepping down as Philippines boss in 2019. He rose to international prominence in the 1980s with spells in charge of Benfica and Roma, before perhaps a career-defining stint at Lazio that saw the club win Serie A, the Coppa Italia twice and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.

After leaving the England job in 2006, Eriksson had a season at Manchester City right before Sheikh Mansour’s 2008 takeover catapulted the club to success. He also spent a number of years in China.

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