As the driving wind pelts icy rain into the windows that overlook the grounds of Melwood, Adrian makes a comparison.
“Liverpool actually reminds me a lot of Seville because you have two big teams in the league – there it’s Real Betis and Sevilla, here it’s Everton and Liverpool – so obviously everyone loves football,” the goalkeeper tells Liverpoolfc.com during a conversation that took place in the warmth of the training ground’s canteen prior to the ongoing suspension of Premier League football.
“It is a football city, every weekend one team is playing here, so it’s nice. It’s a good atmosphere and I really enjoy living here and my family are enjoying it.
“I lived for the last few years in London and then came to Liverpool. Yes, it’s a different city but it’s more like a family for me: the people are more close to each other, they like to talk to you and ask you about this and about that.”
There is one notable difference between Adrian’s hometown and current city of residence, however.
“Yes! The temperature is different and the sunshine is a bit different as well. But with the people and the feeling between them, it’s quite similar.”
Last summer, Adrian couldn’t have been further away from the freezing Merseyside weather – well, figuratively speaking, at least.
It’s widely known that, having left West Ham United upon the expiry of his contract, the 33-year-old returned to southern Spain.
“I knew I was leaving West Ham and we had some interest from different clubs but nothing on the table, no paperwork to sign, just interest and talking but not anything really close to signing,” he recalls of his final few months at London Stadium.
“We knew we had to wait until the end of the season, I finished my contract on June 30 so we finished the season and started looking for a new club.
“We had great options to go back to Spain and other options in different countries like Turkey, Mexico and Saudi Arabia, but my feeling inside was like ‘Wait, wait a bit and something big will come’ because I was ready and had enough experience in the Premier League.
“We had good options but none of them made me full of confidence to sign so we were waiting and after that, as you know, I finished the season and went on holiday with my family. I really enjoyed most of June on holiday, but at the beginning of July I needed to start my own pre-season.
“I was in Seville and I have a great relationship with the goalkeeping coach who used to work with me at Real Betis. He was not working and I called him and said: ‘Listen, I need to get fit and we need to train as hard as possible because one of my options will be signing somewhere and I need to be ready 100 per cent.’
“So we spent that month of July just training by ourselves in the facilities of a third division team from Seville, Union Deportiva Pilas. They opened the facilities just for me, they even gave me a key to train there every day and I was training in the morning, sometimes at night, sometimes in the afternoon, just waiting for a good option to sign.”
Single-minded professionalism, coupled with an unwavering belief that the aforementioned ‘big’ offer would eventually arrive, sustained Adrian during this individual regime.
“I knew someone was going to come with an offer because I spent my last six years at West Ham, then before I played for Real Betis in La Liga,” he continues.
“I performed quite well so I was trusting in my options and it was just about making my body fit, to train as much and as early as possible and obviously to be ready for the moment when I signed.
“Every session that we did there in Seville, we were talking on the phone afterwards with the agents. I had many messages and phone calls talking about the situation and about possible contracts, but I knew that by being ready any opportunity could be my decision so I would be happy.
“But then the best one came and called me in the beginning of August…”
It was, Adrian recalls, something of a whirlwind.
“Someone from the club called my agent and she called me straight away,” he recounts. “It was an afternoon when I was at home and she told me: ‘Listen, Liverpool have called me.’
“So, I said ‘OK, let’s listen’ because it was the option I was waiting for, to go to a big club, to get different targets. It was the option I wanted so after that, in 48 hours, we signed everything. I came to London and did a medical and straight away I was here, on August 5.”
Just four days later, when Alisson Becker hurt his calf during Liverpool’s season-opening win over Norwich City at Anfield, the self-imposed dedication of recent weeks meant Adrian was prepared – both mentally and physically – to be thrust back into Premier League action.
“To be fair, with now having enough time to think about it, that pre-season that I did by myself was probably the best one I did because as I say, I needed to make my body ready. Imagine if I was not fit enough and I needed to play on the Friday?” he wonders.
“It was obviously an unlucky injury for Ali and the goalkeeper’s life is sometimes like this: be ready for the opportunity and I was more than ready for that Friday night, starting my career in Liverpool and showing that I was in a good level and am in the team to try to help us get the biggest target that we have.”
And then? A real-life ‘dream’ in Turkey.
“To be fair, if I could dream a game before a game, that was it! It was the dream game for me,” Adrian smiles.
“It was my first time in the starting XI for Liverpool, playing in the European Super Cup in Istanbul, in a stadium full of Reds in the crowd.
“It was a very long game, very warm, the weather was nice but the temperature was really warm. Going to extra-time, to penalties and then to save the last one with my foot.
“It was like maximum happiness in that moment and I felt like ‘I am here, I am here to help the team 100 per cent and I showed that’. I signed my contract here for that.”
That victory over Chelsea represented the first of 10 consecutive starts in Premier League and Champions League games; nine of which ended with wins if the shootout success at Besiktas Park is included.
Overall, Adrian has made 18 appearances this season, with Alisson’s excellence meaning the Brazilian is established as the Reds’ first-choice goalkeeper.
That fact, though, changes nothing in terms of his deputy’s approach to his day-to-day work.
“I prepare mentally exactly the same as when I am a No.1 because I never feel that I am a second ‘keeper forever, to sit on the bench and just wait and wait and wait and don’t care about playing,” Adrian states.
“I prepare in every session of training like I was starting because that makes me feel ready – for when any opportunities come, I am ready for everything. I never prepare myself to sit on the bench at the weekend.
“Obviously Ali knows he is No.1 and he is doing well. He is a top ‘keeper, one of the best in the world, and all the prizes he has got he deserves because he showed that he deserves them.
“But I think that the competition is great, the healthy competition between us is better for us because it makes us improve. The comfort zone is not good for anyone anywhere in life – you need to improve every day and keep pushing and keep trying to do the best.
“I think that healthy competition, that good feeling we have between us is great for us, great for the team and great for the manager.”
Adrian thinks highly of the other members of Liverpool’s senior goalkeeping cohort – which is led by John Achterberg and Jack Robinson – too.
“We spend a lot of time training together. As you know, we have different coaches with John and Jack and we have four of us – Ali, Andy, Caoimhin and me – training hard from the beginning,” he says.
“Goalkeepers, we are a different animal! We train alone for a long part of the session, we share a lot of conversations and opinions about goalkeeping stuff.
“The goalkeeping position has changed a lot in the last few years. Maybe 20-25 years ago the goalkeeper just had to save all the balls and kick it away but now you have to start playing from the back and play like an outfield player.
“So we have to be really close to each other and obviously that feeling we have in that moment is great because everyone is pushing by their quality. The feeling between all of us is outstanding.”
And what about the spirit in the squad as a whole?
“It was really easy to adapt to the way the team do things outside the pitch because we have a great dressing room. People can see big names but everyone is a hard worker, no-one feels like he is bigger than the others. That’s the first and most important feeling of the dressing room.
“I look forward to work every day. I love football, I love to do goalkeeper stuff. To be a goalkeeper you have to love to be in goal, love to dive, it doesn’t matter what the weather is doing – if it’s raining or not, windy or not!
“Sometimes obviously the weather helps you more than other days but it’s not about the weather, it’s about the mentality to enjoy doing your profession, to enjoy doing this great job.
“I think it is the best job in the world because we are doing something that we love, and obviously I am still looking for more in training, and to play more games and more seasons.”
It is, then, fair to say Adrian reflects on his choices last summer positively.
“This club has totally exceeded my expectations,” he concludes.
“I think coming here was the perfect decision at the perfect time, to come to the best team in the world right now. I am really happy I took that decision, to have that patience in that moment of the summer and to be here.”