Sami Hyypia insists he is delighted to be back in Liverpool as he prepares for an emotional return to Anfield as Bayer Leverkusen manager on Sunday afternoon.
A glittering 10-year Anfield career, during which Hyypia got his hands on the European Cup, one UEFA Cup, two UEFA Super Cups, two FA Cups and two League Cups, came to an end in the summer of 2009.
In what proved to be an emotional departure, the centre-back bowed out on the final day of the campaign, after being introduced as a substitute to a roaring ovation from the crowd.
Three years on and plenty has changed around Anfield; however, one thing will be the same on Sunday afternoon when the warmest of receptions will be afforded to Hyypia as he takes to the dug-out.
"It's nice to be back in Liverpool," said Hyypia. "I think over the three years I've been away, the city has changed a lot - especially the city centre.
"It will be good to be back at Anfield for the final game of our preparations. Our aim is to play well and of course we want to win. Hopefully I'll get a good reception from the Liverpool fans.
"Plenty has changed with regards to the people who were here three years ago - there are not many of them left! But in every area of life you go forward and you carry on and I think the Liverpool owners have made the decision now to get new people in and that's pretty normal in football.
"Hopefully Liverpool are in the process of getting back to the glory days. A new manager has come in and he did a good job at Swansea. Hopefully he can do a good job at Liverpool as well.
"There is a lot of tradition and a lot of success at this club, so I am just waiting for the moment Liverpool get back to where they have been in the past."
For fans who remember the Finn taking to the Anfield turf clad in Liverpool red, seeing him take up position in the dug-out in more formal attire on Sunday afternoon will be something of a strange experience.
And Hyypia, who was appointed manager of the Bundesliga outfit in May 2012 after taking up the reins as caretaker boss a month earlier, admits he is still getting used to the role of manager himself.
"At the moment it's hard work and it's long days," he said. "You have to think a lot about the next day and the coming weeks.
"Many of my friends have asked me whether I am enjoying it or not but I think the pre-season is not the time that you enjoy most because you only play friendly games. They are important to prepare the team for the season but I think the real enjoyment will come when the season starts.
"And the greatest enjoyment comes when you are successful."
Hyypia will be greeted by a host of familiar faces when he walks through the doors at Anfield on Sunday and one of the first to welcome him back will no doubt be his old central-defensive partner Jamie Carragher.
"I was there on Thursday to see him play his 701st Liverpool game (against FC Gomel)," said Hyypia. "I wanted to be there because it's a big achievement for Carra (to play over 700 games for the club). He still has a lot of games to come, so it's great to see that he's still doing the job very well.
"I am still in close contact with Daniel Agger and he's a very, very good centre-back. Hopefully he will stay fit and he can play the full season without injuries and really show how good a player he is. I know that there is speculation around him but when nothing is fixed, he is still a Liverpool player.
"His partnership with Martin Skrtel is great and it's a good base for success. When you have a pair in the centre of the defence who understand each other so well and both have quality when playing the ball forward, it's a good base for any team to build on.
"I would count Pepe Reina as a third man in the middle of that defence as well."
There will also be plenty of new faces present on the day and one player who Hyypia is looking forward to seeing in action more than any other is Luis Suarez, although the Finn admitted he would much rather observe the Uruguayan from a distance than be forced to mark him.
"Suarez is a very good player," he said. "I think I would hate to play against him."
Hyypia may only be months into his reign as Leverkusen boss and he has set his sights on European qualification for next season; however, when asked if he would like to come back to Anfield one day, he replied: "Never say no to good things.