InterviewKostas Tsimikas: This club is so special – I'm very glad to be staying
Signing a new contract with Liverpool was an easy decision for Kostas Tsimikas, who is delighted to be staying at a club he now considers home.
The Greece international extended his spell with the Reds, who he joined from Olympiacos in 2020, by penning fresh terms at the AXA Training Centre on Monday.
Shortly after committing his future to the club, Tsimikas sat down with Liverpoolfc.com for an in-depth interview. See it in full below.
Kostas, congratulations on signing a new long-term contract with Liverpool. How does it feel to have extended your stay here?
Thank you very much, first of all. I feel very glad to be here to extend my contract. I feel like all the sacrifices I did and other things, the work I put in, [that] everything pays off. But this keeps me fully motivated for the rest. As I’ve said in many, many interviews, this team has many, many things to achieve all together and I wanted to be from the first minute a part of it.
Was it an easy decision to make when talks started, then?
Yeah, it was very, very easy! I think [when] both parts, me and the team, want that, it becomes much, much easier. I wanted from the start to stay here, I really love everything here: the people, every single morning when I see them here in the training ground I feel really glad, and the players, the staff, everybody. Even the weather became sweeter for me! And as I say, I am very, very glad.
You’re now 27, which is traditionally around the time a footballer comes into their prime. Why is Liverpool the right club for you at this stage of your career?
I think it is the right club because they believe in me. Always when I play for the team I give absolutely everything, I try to help everybody when I play and even if I don’t play. I think and I feel an important player for the players, for the mood especially, and when I play. I’m really, really happy to be here as I said and I think for me it was the right step to extend my contract and stay here.
You’ve been here for three years now – what is it about the club that makes it so special?
I think everything makes this club so special, especially two years ago when we won the cups and had the parade. Everybody in the team was unhappy because of the Champions League final we lost, and we came second in the league, but for the fans, we saw all the happiness on their faces at the parade and [they were] next to us, to celebrate, and that was extra motivation for us to forget everything [about] the bad things. So, that’s why this club is very blessed and everybody loves the club [and] when we go abroad, everybody has the red shirt and celebrates for us. It’s special.
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You’ve mentioned the fans there and you have got a great connection with them – how much does their support mean to you?
How you feel when you play in Anfield, it’s priceless. They always push you to the limit to give absolutely everything – especially me in Anfield I feel like I am not tired, [I am] never tired. When I feel the fans next to us, next to me especially, it is something magic I can’t describe with words. That’s why we keep pushing together, us as players and them as fans to the team, to have successful games.
You’re known as the ‘Greek Scouser’ which says a lot about your relationship with the city as well as the club. Do you really feel at home here, off the pitch as well as on it?
Yeah. This is like home, home for me: the city, the training ground, the people, it’s like [they] became family for me. That’s why I extended my contract, I am here to stay because of all of these circumstances. I love the people, as I say, I love the club, even the weather became very familiar for me! That’s what I love and [why] I signed the contract.
How have you improved as a player since you joined the club in 2020?
I improved very much, as I remember myself [when I arrived]. Especially when you train with these kind of players, it gives you full motivation because you become like a part with them, you feel like a big boy also as a player! To be here is the most difficult thing, you know, and to play especially – for me, I think it was very important to be surrounded with all these type of players [and] very good people. From the first moment they showed me the love and they helped me to be, from the first moment, one with them and I am really glad for that.
We mentioned before that you are only 27 years old, so do you feel there is still a lot you can work on and improve in your game?
Yes, of course – the work never ends. Every morning I wake up and I have in my mind that it is one extra day to go to the training ground and work on specific points I want to improve. Of course, you never stop learning, even in football. You have to deal with new players, better players and you have to be there. So of course, the training never ends, you have to be there, you have to be first of all healthy to prepare your body to be always there 100 per cent committed. So, for me, that’s the best: to train, to work and recover and go again.
How important was the manager in your decision to stay?
Always he tried to help me, to be honest, with the things I want. I think he gave the green light to sign this contract and show me that he wants me in the club so I am really glad to have him and he is always there for me. So, I really appreciate it and thank him for everything [over] all these years and the years that will come.
We know you’re very close to Mohamed Salah too – did you speak to him before making the decision? Or have you spoken to him since?
Yeah, of course – I always speak to him about everything. He always convinced me and the captain also convinced me to sign. I feel the love of the players always, we are all together and we have fun. For me [this is] the most important thing, when these kind of players – and especially Mo, he is always next to me there, we have fun together and he always suggests the best thing for me and for my career. So, as I said before, it was not a difficult decision for me.
You’ve made 63 appearances for the club but one in particular stands out – the FA Cup final, when you scored the winning penalty. You’re smiling as we talk about it, is that a moment you will remember and treasure forever?
Yeah, I think it will be the best moment for me because it was something I never did in my life, it was the first penalty I ever shot – I was really stressed as I remember! But as I said, I felt the fans were very desperate for this cup [and] us also because we did quite well in every competition, we did [nearly] perfectly in every competition, so for me it was obligatory to score the penalty and win this trophy for the club.
You won the Carabao Cup in that season too. What are your aims and goals over the course of this new contract? More trophies and success?
Yeah, more success, more work and more trophies as you say. For me it is the most important thing, to win trophies, to be committed in every situation, to be part of all of this. I think this team has very big potential to win more trophies and we will go for it. Everybody, I think, is 100 per cent there [and] focused for the next games and everybody is ready to achieve big things in the future.
And finally, do you have a message for the supporters who are watching or reading this interview?
The Greek Scouser is here and he is here to stay!