John Arne Riise took some time out to answer some questions for me; he talked about his Liverpool career, his thoughts on the Coutinho situation and more!
So John, it’s been five months since you last put on your boots at Anfield and that was for the Legends game against Real Madrid. Just how much do you miss walking out at Anfield and hearing the Kop roaring You’ll Never Walk Alone?
It’s the thing I miss the most. Standing in the tunnel, feeling the excitement of being able to touch the Anfield sign and run on to the pitch in front of the amazing Kop. Nothing can compare to that feeling. Players who haven’t experienced it won’t understand that feeling you get. The Legends game was a dream!!!
You spent seven years at the club, I know this is probably a tough question to answer but what was the highlight of your career?
Every single time I put the shirt on. Being able to represent the club. Obviously winning the Champions League in 2005 is the biggest night and game of my life. But I went into every game with a 100% attitude of giving my all for the fans, the club, my teammates.
Who was your favourite opposition player?
Favourite? That’s hard. I was honoured to play against the best in the world. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for example. But I truly loved playing against my neighbour and very good friend, Tim Cahill.
You shared the pitch with the likes of Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Jamie Carragher; who was your best mate during your time at the club? Choose carefully 😉
This is a hard one. Mainly because I’m a very social person! I’m always smiling, joking, laughing and making people feel good. Obviously you connected more with some. Sami Hyypia was very important when I signed. Harry Kewell was the same when he came. I spent most of my time with Gerrard, Carra, Danny Murphy, Hamann.. but played golf a lot with Kuyt, Reina and Finnan. So as you can see I can’t choose one. The ginge had too much energy and was all over the place 🙂
I know you still follow the Reds and watch whenever you can, what do you make of the pre-season games? Liverpool only just missed out on winning the Audi Cup, they did pretty well didn’t they?
They looked good yes. Some young players showed what they can do. Salah impressed. Solanke the same. Great to have Mané back. So there are lots of positives. I know they have all worked hard this pre-season. I’m excited.
How do you think this squad will cope with four competitions next season? August is already going to be a busy month with the Champions League qualifiers and some tough fixtures at Anfield.
That’s the really big test from last year! That’s why I know Klopp wants a big squad and also he wants youngsters to show they can be trusted. Big test this year for the team and squad.
What do you make of the transfer activity this summer? Mohamed Salah has clicked instantly with Coutinho and Solanke and Robertson also seem to have settled in nicely.
I’m happy with how we looking upfront and attacking wise. I’m still worried about the defense. Especially centre-back! Really feel we need a centre-back of high class.
I’m sure you’re aware of the rumours surrounding Philippe Coutinho wanting to go to Barcelona – do you think the club will hold onto him for one more season, after all this is a really important one for Jürgen Klopp?
It all depends on money and Coutinho himself. It’s a tough one. I do reckon it’s the same for any Brazilian player, Barca is the dream. That’s just how it is. But Coutinho won’t force it, not in public anyway.
Everyone asks you to dust your boots off and come back to Anfield, especially with our problems at left-back, and we know you’re ready to do that or even be the new club ambassador – do you think you’ll come back to the club in another role whether that involves coaching or a bit more behind-the-scenes?
I do hope so. It’s my dream to be a part of this amazing club. I do some stuff already and I’m very honored about it. Hopefully it will be even more in the future. I love meeting fans all over the world and giving back to them.
One final question – how DID you score that goal?
I’m still looking for the answer myself! Haha.
A huge thank you to John for taking the time to answer these questions. Make sure you follow him on Twitter for all of his thoughts on the ongoings at Liverpool FC!