Almost instantly after stepping out of an early-afternoon briefing with his coaching staff, Jürgen Klopp’s trademark grin was illuminating the landing area of Melwood's first floor on Tuesday.
Allan Rodrigues de Souza was back at the club's training complex for the first time since completing a loan spell in Finland, and his new manager was eager to make him feel welcome.
As Klopp took the opportunity to dedicate his complete attention to the midfielder, the Brazilian proudly handed over a couple of souvenirs from his time with Seinajoen Jalkapallokerho – a No.28 jersey he wore while competing in the Finnish top flight and a league title winners’ medal – for the boss to inspect.
Liverpool moved to secure the services of Allan from Internacional in September before immediately sending him out on loan to SJK to gain some vital experience of European football.
It proved to be a profitable stint, including two goals and five assists in eight appearances from the 18-year-old to help his temporary club to their first ever Veikkausliiga title, pipping the usually-dominant HJK Helsinki to the crown.
“It was a very important experience for me - it was good to get some game time as I hadn’t been playing in a while,” Allan explained as he sat down with Liverpoolfc.com for the first time. “Moreover, I had never played a game at professional level before, so it was very valuable time I’ve spent there.
“It’s only been seven years since SJK were founded, and they were a second-division club until recently.
“They had finished third in the league two years ago and were runners-up last season, and now this year we’ve won the league. It’s been very rewarding and I’m very happy we did it.”
Both Liverpool and the player himself believe that spell with SJK could go a long way to assisting Allan in his attempts to fulfil his visibly vast potential.
Although it may seem a daunting prospect for any 18-year-old to move continents and then swap countries in such a short space of time, the Reds’ support network made every effort to ensure the transition was as comfortable as possible – including daily communication.
“European football is not like Brazilian football – the game pace and dynamic on the ball are very different,” Allan said. “I tried to settle in as quickly as possible. I had little time to adapt and so I did my best to get familiar with it as fast as I could.
“Liverpool were in contact with me on a daily basis. They wanted to know how I was and gave me full support during my time there, asking about me and staying in touch every day. They were very caring indeed.”
It wasn’t just Liverpool officials seeking to check on Allan’s wellbeing during his time in Finland – there were three key members of the first-team squad sending texts and emails, and making phone calls to the youngster.
Lucas Leiva, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino have all been eager to take their compatriot under their collective wing since he became a Red.
“I had to fly to Liverpool on the same day people told me about the club’s interest in signing me,” Allan recalls.
“I was a little bit scared as it was out of the blue – I wasn’t expecting it – but I received a warm welcome from the Brazilians when I first got here. They took me to their houses, asked me if I needed anything and gave me all the support they could.
“They said I could rely on them for anything I needed. They were also very helpful in training and assisted me with the language – in fact, they couldn’t have done more than they did.
“They are wonderful people and I know I can count on them. I’ve been in touch with them regularly – and Lucas recently said in an interview that I’m a great prospect, which made me feel happy.
“I’ve spoken to them recently and they congratulated me for my time in Finland. It feels so nice to get this input from Lucas, Coutinho and Firmino, who are football heroes in Brazil and across the world. It’s very rewarding for me indeed.”
With his loan spell at SJK now complete, Allan will be allowed a few days to return to Brazil and catch his breath after an incredible few weeks.
After that, he’ll head back to Melwood to re-start training, but concedes another temporary switch could be on the cards once again come the New Year.
“Now that I’m back, I’ll do some tests and whatever else I’ve got to do here, and then I’m off to Brazil to see my family,” he said.
“I’ll be focusing on my training sessions at Liverpool for the next month or two when I return and we’ll see what happens after that, but I trust Liverpool and rely on their decision – I’ll do whatever they feel is appropriate for me.
“For now, my main objective is to gain more experience – it’s not yet the time to think about winning big things.
“I will take it step by step, with both feet on the ground, humility and hard work. But obviously in the long-term, my objectives will be more than simply train and play here – ultimately, one day in the future, I want to win and bring joy to the Liverpool supporters and much more.
“I’m a fighter and I’ll stick together with the team and go the extra mile. You can count on me as I’ll give my best to help Liverpool.”