Sven-Goran Eriksson receives hero’s welcome from Liverpool fans as he fulfils dying wish

Ex-England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson was loudly cheered by the Anfield faithful as he ticked off a childhood dream by leading Liverpool out for a charity match against Ajax

Sven-Goran Eriksson is the manager of Liverpool legends for their meeting with Ajax legends

Sven-Goran Eriksson achieved his dream of managing Liverpool in what turned into a thrilling comeback victory over Ajax in a charity legends clash.

The former England boss and lifelong Reds fan revealed earlier this year at he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The 76-year-old has acknowledged that his time in the home dugout leading the Liverpool legends against Ajax legends was to be his last experience as a manager, and the former Reds stars delivered a display to remember as they came from 2-0 down at half-time to win 4-2, with Gregory Vignal, Djibril Cisse, Nabil El Zhar and Fernando Torres all scoring in front of a packed Kop.

Eriksson was loudly cheered by the home faithful as he made his way out of the tunnel. A hearty chorus of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was belted out by fans, some of whom were holding back tears. Before the charity game, the Swede shed light on his passion for Liverpool and how he came close to taking the reins on a permanent basis years ago.

“When I was a manager I always dreamt about Liverpool, but that never happened,” Eriksson explained. “It was close once, it was some discussion once, many years ago… it never happened. But now it happens.

“When they asked, I thought it was a joke. I said of course, and then it’s charity, which makes it even more lovely. You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is magic. I’m looking forward to it. I’m very honoured and thankful to Liverpool that they gave me this opportunity.

Sven-Göran Eriksson is delighted to be taking charge of boyhood club Liverpool in a charity clash against Ajax
Sven-Göran Eriksson was delighted to be taking charge of boyhood club Liverpool in a charity clash against Ajax

“I think it must be maybe the best atmosphere in the world, in all big football stadiums I have been to, and part of that is the song when the players come out. The atmosphere is incredible.”

Eriksson wasn’t the only famous face in the dugout. Former Liverpool stars Ian Rush, John Barnes and John Aldridge were all part of the Swede’s coaching staff, while the squad itself contained superstar names like Steven Gerrard and Torres.

Just under 60,000 fans were in attendance to watch the action unfold, which is a record crowd for the eighth annual LFC Foundation match, with the games raising a combined £6.3million.

Eriksson was given a hero's welcome by fans
Eriksson was given a hero’s welcome by fans 
Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

The ex-England boss thanked supporters 
Alan Martin/Colorsport/REX/Shutterstock)
Ahead of kick-off, Channel 4 organised a video that contained some of Eriksson’s former England players, including Gerrard, and saw them pay tribute to the ex-Three Lions boss.

“I just wanted to send you my best wishes, send you some love and support,” ex-Reds skipper Gerrard explained. “Been thinking about you a lot lately.

“I hope you are doing okay and I am really looking forward to seeing you next week. I am happy to have you as the gaffer at Anfield, that’ll be really special so I am just trying to get the body in good condition so I can last the 90 minutes.”


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