FeatureWhat we learned from Dirk Kuyt on the 'We are Liverpool' podcast
Dirk Kuyt shared some brilliant insight into his Anfield career when he appeared on the 'We are Liverpool' podcast.
The Dutchman joined hosts Jan Molby and Peter McDowall in the AXA Training Centre studio for a hugely entertaining chat.
Here are five takeaways from the episode…
Where his incredible work-rate came from
No-one could ever fault the hard yards and graft Kuyt put in for every single one of his 285 Reds appearances.
That determination, which supporters loved from the first outing, was instilled in him by his parents from an early age.
He explains: "My father was 14 when he had to join the sea to work. First of all, to get some money for his parents to make sure everyone could eat at home.
"Later on, my father had to take care of his own family. He was on the sea for a couple of weeks and then a couple of days home. My mother had to be alone and be there for us.
"I know what it is to work very hard, and that's something that my parents gave to me – if you want to achieve something in life, you have to work very hard for it.
"And it doesn't matter if it is football or anything else in life, you just do everything you can. That's what I learned and what brought me a lot in football."
Just how difficult it was to adapt to English football
Kuyt arrived on Merseyside from Feyenoord in the summer of 2006 as a proven goalscorer in the Eredivisie.
But English football was something entirely new to him and required some adjustment.
"To play in the Eredivisie is something but to change from the Eredivisie to the Premier League is a very big step," he says. "I remember back in the days that I was losing like five, six, seven, eight kilos of weight. It's just that the intensity of the games was so high.
"Instead of playing once a week, I was playing every three or four days in a very high physical level. It took you a while to adapt to the league."
- Dirk Kuyt's appearance on the 'We are Liverpool' podcast can be viewed for free here and is also available on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you get your podcasts
How he'd love to play for Klopp
Naturally, Kuyt's traits on the pitch have many Reds believing he would have been a perfect fit for Jürgen Klopp.
It's an opinion also shared by the 43-year-old, who considers the current Liverpool manager to be an inspiration as Kuyt begins his own coaching career in the game.
He states: "I'm a young manager, want to become a good manager. But, of course, you think about the way he's playing, his style of playing, the intensity, the way he likes to press teams in their own half.
"I would love to play under him. But I also really like to watch how his team is playing now."
His brilliant reaction to Torres signing
Kuyt ended his first season at the club with 14 goals, the last of which came in the Champions League final defeat by AC Milan in Athens.
He was enjoying a well-deserved break in Aruba in the summer when he found out Rafael Benitez had decided to bring more striking competition to the squad.
"I was lying on the beach and just relaxing, feeling comfortable," Kuyt recalls. "Then I read the paper and there was a guy called Fernando Torres who had just signed.
"I just went straight up and started running just because you want to keep your place!"
He continued: "After the first season, I was friends with Pepe Reina and he just came to me and said, 'Congratulations with your championship.' I said, 'What do you mean? We didn't win anything, we just lost the Champions League final.'
"He said, 'Every year you will be a Liverpool player is like a championship on your own. Because every year players will come in to take your position.'
"For me, it was unbelievable I could play six years for Liverpool."
His role in Suarez becoming a Red
Kuyt also played with another one of the club's greatest forwards in Luis Suarez.
And the Uruguayan's arrival from AFC Ajax in January 2011 may not have happened without a little bit of assistance from Kuyt.
"From the moment I heard that Liverpool was interested in Luis, I was very curious that the club was getting him and I know they were struggling in the fee Ajax wanted to get for him," the tale begins.
"The negotiations weren't going very well and I said, 'Do you need any help because I know a lot of people in Holland, especially as I know the club?' They said, 'They're asking [for] too much money and we can't get around the table.'
"I said, 'My agent, who is a good friend, let's get him involved because he knows the board of Ajax, he knows the people very well there.' So he went there as an intermediate without getting any money, to be honest, because it was not about the money, just a favour for Liverpool.
"And he managed to bring the two clubs together and also the agents of Luis and it was sorted out very quickly."