InterviewAdrian discusses his contract extension, role at Liverpool and new players settling
Adrian has explained why he had no hesitation at signing a contract extension at Liverpool to remain an experienced and important figure in the dressing room.
The Spanish goalkeeper put pen to paper on the deal late last month to continue his stay at the Reds, which began in the summer of 2019.
Now entering his fifth season at the club, Adrian relishes his role of supporting those within the squad on and off the pitch, while ensuring he's ready for any opportunity handed to him by Jürgen Klopp.
Liverpoolfc.com caught up with the 36-year-old on the third day of the team's pre-season work ahead of 2023-24 – read on to see what he had to say...
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The manager was very happy to keep you here for another year – how happy were you to get that contract extension?
I'm delighted, to be honest, to stay here and continue being part of this great football club. From the beginning, when I came in 2019, the club, the fans, the manager opened their arms like, 'This is your new home.' Yeah, this is my new home. At the end of the day, we need competition in the squad. As I always say, the competition makes us better and we have a great goalkeeper group with the goalkeeper coach, the youngsters – it's a good mix. We are good friends as well. So that is the most important thing – to be close to each other, to support in those difficult moments. As soon as the club told me that option, I had nothing to think about and obviously just to put the pen on the paper and sign it.
You're behind two top-quality goalkeepers that you've helped get to the levels they've reached in the past couple of years. How do you see your role now at Liverpool?
In life as well, sometimes you have different work and you have to change your role. In a football career, you start doing a role like when you are younger, you are supporting, learning more stuff. Obviously there are many games, many competitions. The club needs competitive players on the pitch, and players ready to go – and I'm one of them. From the beginning, I tried to support in the dressing room, show obviously the level when I can and show my experience with the youngsters, try to speak with them in training or when we are travelling. At the end of the day, I'm always learning. I'm 36 now but I'm still learning. I'm feeling fresh and ready as always. I'm looking forward to working with the same group again with John [Achterberg], Jack [Robinson] and Taffa [Claudio Taffarel]. We have a great group of goalies and we support each other.
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How do you see Alisson Becker's position? He was terrific last season. Has he got better year on year?
That is the most difficult part in football because modern football has no memories, for sure, and you just remember the last game. Now we are starting again. Obviously Ali made a great impact on the team last season – but the previous as well. He's improving, he's always feeling confident, he's training so good. He's one of the top five goalies in the world, I would say. The goalie position is so difficult because you have to keep that level. It's not just good because you had a good game or made some good saves; the next game you can make a mistake and obviously everyone will remember that. At the end of the day, Ali is a top goalie and is doing well. Obviously we hope he keeps that level for sure. We will push hard from the back – me, Caoimhin [Kelleher], the youngsters – to keep him at the top of his level.
You spoke about your age before but your experience can be key in helping these new players settle into this culture and building a new culture as well...
For sure. After Millie left, obviously I'm the most experienced player in the dressing room now. I have that role as well. I try to help the youngsters. We have a big Latin group as well, so I try to help them to settle as quick as possible – like Darwin [Nunez] learning English and Luis [Diaz] improving as well. We are like a family. We have to help each other to adapt as quick as possible, to play and to perform as well as possible. I'm one of the team players that tries to help and is ready for any opportunity.
You're close to Darwin – how excited is he about the new season?
He's desperate to start scoring goals again, looking forward to the first friendly and to play and score some goals. I think he helped [us] a lot last season but I think this second season for him will be more calm. He has the experience of the first [season] now and he had to learn many things as well because he's still very young – but I think he can help us a lot.