Interview'Trent and Robbo were both born to be full-backs'
Fabio Aurelio has revealed his admiration for ‘very complete’ full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson as he prepares to reprise the role himself at Anfield this weekend.
The Brazilian, who made 134 appearances across six years with the Reds, will return to the club on Saturday to represent Liverpool FC Legends against Barça Legends.
A host of greats are also set to pull on the shirt again, including Daniel Agger, Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard, Dirk Kuyt, Steve McManaman and Maxi Rodriguez.
Aurelio says he is ‘blessed’ by the opportunity to run out at the stadium again and help raise vital funds for a variety of LFC Foundation projects, its charity partners and Forever Reds, the club’s official former players association.
We caught up with the 42-year-old to preview Saturday’s game, presented by AXA, and get his thoughts on how Alexander-Arnold and Robertson have helped change the full-back position as part of Jürgen Klopp’s current squad.
Read the chat in full below…
- A limited number of tickets are still available for the game – visit www.liverpoolfc.com/tickets/tickets-availability for more details
- Fans can also watch the 3pm GMT kick-off on Facebook Live for £1.99. More details on how to purchase a virtual ticket are available here
How much are you looking forward to being back and playing at Anfield again on Saturday?
Obviously I’m really looking forward to it. I never imagined I would have the opportunity to step in Anfield again to play a football match once I retired from football. But thanks to the amazing LFC Foundation work, which provides assistance for many needs, I’m blessed with the chance to contribute to it and experience again the special feeling of wearing the red shirt. So, really looking forward to it.
How are you feeling in terms of your fitness? Are you up to playing a full game or will you see how it goes?
Well, football has always been my passion and training is part of my life routine, so it’s something I can’t imagine being without. It makes me feel good to continue to look for fitness improvements so my body can allow me to play and enjoy the game for as long as possible. Although I usually play seven-a-side football, I think all the work I’ve been doing is enough to cope with the 90 minutes on the pitch. I hope so.
If you could pick one thing personally, what would you like to achieve on Saturday? Sticking a free-kick in the top corner?
It would really be a dream come true if I could score at Anfield because during my time at the club, the four goals I did score were playing away. If I get to do it with a free-kick, I couldn’t ask for more. Anyway, I’m very pleased to have the chance to play at Anfield again, I will sure enjoy it and also try to fulfil this dream of mine. Why not?
Is there anyone in particular you’re looking forward to seeing again and playing with?
It will be really nice to line up with the players of my time because obviously you remember your old days as a Red at the club. But in this particular one you also have the opportunity to be with players of other times as well, so I’m looking forward to meeting all of them. No-one in particular but it will be really special to enjoy with the players of my time and from all-time that you used to see, even before I was at Liverpool.
And it’s an even bigger Anfield than when you played here, with a sell-out 54,000 expected at the game…
It’s amazing. It’s really difficult to explain. If I can enjoy it when I watch Liverpool at home through the TV, you can have an idea what it did from inside the pitch. It’s easy to pay attention to the atmosphere when you are only watching but when you are playing, you are focused on your game, on the opponent, thinking of solutions that can help during the match. You know the atmosphere is there but you cannot pay attention to some details. But although you don’t pay much attention to it, you feel it – it’s quite difficult to explain. It’s like you are feeling something coming from inside you, pushing you forward and making you feel stronger. It’s really difficult to explain.
The man in your position these days is Andy Robertson – where does he rank in terms of some of the best left-backs you’ve seen?
I’ve seen a few great left-backs during my career – some very strong defensively, some much more offensive. But if you look at the whole full-back role, he is complete in defence, in attack, he can score goals, he has pace, he has stamina, he is aggressive. So, he has to be at the top of the list, you can’t say different than that. His numbers talk for themselves.
Do you think Andy and Trent Alexander-Arnold have helped to change the full-back role, even compared to your time?
They manage to do everything the position requires. As I said about Robertson previously, we can say the same about Trent. Both are very complete full-backs. Both spend the matches going up and down the pitch, they participate a lot in the team’s game. We can really say that both were born to be full-backs.
Just finally, Luis Diaz recently arrived at Liverpool, a South American like yourself. You know the challenges of settling in to a new club, so how impressive has his start been?
Showreel: Luis Diaz's best moments against Brighton
I watched some of his games with Porto so when I saw the signing, I imagined he would match perfectly to the team. He has pace, he is very strong one-on-one. What is very evident for me when I see him playing is his character, his desire to play. All of this is helping him to adapt so quickly, in my opinion – he has the identity of Liverpool.
The legends game is a marquee moment in the LFC Foundation calendar, with proceeds from the match going to the charity, which aims to create life-changing opportunities for young people and families, and a proportion will be donated to Barcelona’s official charity, the Barça Foundation.
Money raised from legends games helps to fund a variety of projects for LFC Foundation and its charity partners, including its employability and training programmes, health and wellbeing programmes, with a focus on mental health, and its international sport and play partnership, Side by Side. These are particularly vital projects, which play a huge part in LFC Foundation’s COVID-19 recovery support.
This year, funds will also go towards supporting Forever Reds, the club’s official former players association, which provides support to the club’s former players in need of care, particularly during the later stages of their lives. The Owen McVeigh Foundation, which provides life-changing memories for children and their families in Merseyside fighting cancer, will also be supported by monies raised from the game.
- You can support LFC Foundation by visiting www.justgiving.com/lfcf and help them to continue to create life-changing opportunities for young people and families.
- Take on our Challenge Reds call and complete fundraising challenges to support LFC Foundation.
- The players will be donating their signed, match-worn shirts after the game that can be bid on here.
- LFC Foundation partnered with Side by Side to use the power of sport to transform the lives of vulnerable children and young people; we are raising £150k to expand our programmes into more high-need communities. You can donate here.