Xabi Alonso has revealed his boyhood admiration for German legend Lothar Matthaus and admits he could one day follow the midfielder's example and play out his days as a sweeper.
The Spain international, who came off the bench to make his 100th league appearance for the Reds in the 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough on Saturday, believes Matthaus was arguably the finest midfielder of his generation.
His all-action displays at the heart of the Inter Milan midfield caught the eye of an impressionable Alonso during the early 1990s and the former Real Sociedad man is relishing the prospect of following in the World Cup winner's footsteps by playing on the pitch he so famously graced, when the Reds travel to the San Siro in March.
"Matthaus was an unbelievable player," Alonso told LFC magazine.
"He spent the later years of his career playing as a sweeper but was at his best in midfield when he was one of the best players in the world.
"I remember watching him playing for Inter Milan and then in his second spell with Bayern Munich later in his career.
"Sometimes they would play with five at the back and he was the sweeper. At times he would be in behind the centre-backs and at others in front of him.
"His all-round game was excellent and once he went back to sweeper, you could really see his game intelligence from there. He always knew what to do with the ball."
Alonso is not a complete stranger to the libero position, having enjoyed a brief flirtation with the role during a first-half appearance for the reserves against Crewe, last September.
At the age of 26, he still has a number of years at the heart of the midfield ahead of him, but feels that it could well be an option once he enters the twilight of his career.
"I feel I have some good years left playing in midfield but later in my career you never know," he said.
"Once I get older I may end up playing back there just as Matthaus did."