|Desc||His contribution and importance to the Liverpool defence is often overlooked due to Jamie Carragher’s constant presence, but Hyypia was a mainstay of the Reds for a decade and a key part of their Champions league triumph in 2005, not to mention a much-loved captain|
|Org||Finland National Team|
|Club as Player||Liverpool FC|
2009 05 24 Retrieve
[Sami Hyypia says Istanbul Is His Liverpool Career Highlight] I think every player dreams of winning the Champions League at some time in their career or even just to be in the final and I have managed to play in the final and win it. So Istanbul is definitely a highlight of my life and I think from a fan point of view the way the game went made it even more special. Even the neutral fans of football will remember this game for ever because to come back from 3-0 down against AC Milan and then go on to win it is an incredible result. Even in a normal game this would be special so for it to happen in the Champions League final makes it even more so and it will stay in the memories of the players and the fans for the rest of our lives
I didn’t think I would be here for ten years. When I first came I thought that I would be on the bench sometimes and would play sometimes but would maybe have to get used to not playing all the time. But then before the season started I realised that I really had a chance to be in the first eleven all the time and this encouraged me to work even harder. I’m not saying that I didn’t work hard from day one because it’s my nature always to work hard and then see what happens. But I didn’t have a lot of expectation for the first season. I just thought that I would do my best and show everybody that I could play football. It was also a good situation for me to start here because nobody knew me and nobody really had any big expectations of me.
[While Hyypia admits that Sunday will be an emotional occasion, he is not getting too carried away because, as he puts it, he is not retiring just yet, just moving on] I remember a few games when I wasn’t happy with how I had played. But there are so many good things to remember that it means the bad things stay in the background. I think Sunday will be a sad day but it’s not like I am retiring or anything. I just have a new challenge
2017 11 25 Retrieve
[Former Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia feels that the exciting brand of football that Jurgen Klopp has gotten his team to play guarantees entertainment for the fans, never giving them a boring moment] Jurgen Klopp is German and he likes to play high tempo and high pressing game. It is very interesting to see. You won’t fall asleep when you watch Liverpool. It is exciting to see them creating so many chances
[However, the Finn had a word of warning for Klopp, who has seen his side throw away leads and defend suicidally with the 3-3 draw during midweek against Sevilla in the Champions League a case in point. The Spaniards fought back to equalise after initially going three goals down, highlighting the defensive frailties of Klopp’s team] There are two things in football - You have to balance in the game. You cannot only attack. You have to defend well not to let the opposition score too many goals
[While he wants the defensive mistakes cut out, he also felt Liverpool needs to score more goals] I think the season didn’t start how everyone would have liked it to, but its still early days and anything can happen. We need to correct few things in the game, offensively. We are creating a lot of chances, we are scoring lot of goals but we can score more goals. I think we can be a little more effective offensively. Defensively, we have conceded some easy goals due to individual mistakes. Everyone commits mistakes. Nobody is perfect but we need to cut the mistakes little bit.
[Hyypia also felt that Mohamed Salah’s experience playing in Italy has improved his game, which has seen him make a blistering start to his Liverpool career] In Chelsea, he was very young. Then he went to Italy to get more experience and grow as a player. He is more confident now than what he was at Chelsea. Klopp gave him a lot of responsibility and lot of trust and maybe that’s why he is playing well. It is difficult for me to tell as I am not there every day to see him or I don’t know him personally. I can tell only what I see. He is scoring some important goals and I think he is one of the best performers at the beginning of the season.
2019 02 15 Retrieve
[Former Reds defender Sami Hyypia believes Jurgen Klopp has pieced together a squad that is capable of competing for domestic and European honours] We made some great additions to the squad last summer and the team is looking even stronger. There’s no reason why we can’t go all the way this time around. Just because Liverpool are doing so well in the Premier League that doesn’t mean that the Champions League becomes less important. It’s going to be tough but it’s possible. You want to keep challenging for both trophies for as long as possible. It makes it more interesting for the supporters. This is what they want - seeing their team competing for the two biggest trophies
Bayern haven’t done that well in their domestic league this season but they are still dangerous. We cannot afford to under-estimate them. We have to go full on in both these games. Virgil will be missed but I’m not too worried. That creates an opportunity for someone else to step up and take more responsibility. There are other players who can take his place. We need to be very sharp from the off in the first game. Ideally, you want a lead to take over to Munich. I know Bayern quite well and I think their weakness is in defending counter-attacks. We aren’t that bad at counter-attacks and I can see us scoring a few goals against Bayern in that manner over the two legs
2019 02 16 Retrieve
[Former Reds defender Sami Hyypia considers as Virgil van Dijk] I saw it right away when he came that he would be a very important part of the team. Straightaway he was organising the defence, he was the leader at the back, and as time has gone on he is even more important. He gives confidence to the players and makes many other players play better. It is very difficult to find a weakness. He is an ultimate centre-back and it would be a pleasure to play alongside him he is so good. He is so calm on the ball, he never seems in a hurry and he trusts his skills on the ball. It was the right decision [to sign him] because he is so important for the team, it doesn’t matter how much he cost
2019 03 24 Retrieve
[Former Reds defender Hyypia on Virgil van Dijk] Alisson came in the summer and we made some good signings in the midfield as well, but I think Virgil van Dijk is the most important player for the team. He makes the other players play better and he gives a lot of confidence to the others as well. He’s such a good player
It’s going to be an exciting end to the season. I don’t think City are going to drop many points and we can’t [afford to] drop many points either, so I think it’s going to go til the last game. That would be great to fight right until the end and I’m hoping we are going to do it this year
2019 10 14 Retrieve
[Sami Hyypia says Jordan Henderson may be club captain at Liverpool but Virgil van Dijk has all the attributes of a leader] He’s not got the armband, but he has all the attributes of a leader. You don’t need the armband to be a leader or an important character on the field or in the dressing room. We needed a leader and, when Virgil arrived, he filled that void. In my opinion, Jordan Henderson and James Milner are a good captain and vice-captain, but it’s not enough to just have two - you need maybe four or five.
Virgil was a good addition to that and he took the weight off the other two captains. He gives a lot of confidence to everyone, is always talking on the field and makes everyone around him play better. For me, he’s the last piece of the puzzle in the search for the first Premier League title. Attacking-wise, we were going in the right direction, but, in defence, we needed him to close the circle
2019 10 14b Retrieve
[Hyypia lauds spirit as Reds look to become heroes] I watch them and it seems they are having fun playing at such an extraordinarily high level, but they are also demanding of each other. That’s why they won’t ease up
I saw the episode with Mo Salah and Sadio Mane but far from thinking that was damaging to dressing room spirit I thought it showed how strong it is. It just shows that everyone wants to win together and that shows what a great group [Jurgen] Klopp has built with that dynamic. It’s always good to have that kind of openness where players can call each other out. That’s part of the culture of winning. There’s nothing wrong with it. All successful teams have that desire which means they demand more from each other. I remember some sparks flying between players when I was at Anfield - and that’s only good for the team
Everyone remembers you when you win trophies - even 15 or 20 years on. When I’m back in Liverpool everyone mentions that night in Istanbul in 2005. Something like that stays with the fans. No-one forgets it. That’s why this city will go crazy if they manage to win the League this year - just like they did in 2005. When we won in Istanbul the club hadn’t won the European Cup for 21 years so there was great emotion. It was a huge release. And it will be the same next May if we win the League because it’s been so long. There will be wild celebrations and also a place in history for the players. It will be special.
2020 01 20 Retrieve
[Ex-Liverpool star Hyypia, who spent 10 years with the club between 1999 and 2009, forms part of Van Dijk’s fan base] I think Virgil is the best centre-back in the world. He has no weakness. The fact when he came, Liverpool were lacking in leadership a little bit. It was asking too much on James Milner and Jordan Henderson. When Van Dijk came it took the weight off those two and there was another leader on the field. He gives confidence to everyone, he gets everyone to play better around him.
[The former Finland international said of Firmino] When he was at Hoffenheim and I heard he was going to Liverpool, I wasn’t sure if he was going to make it. But now he has developed. He’s one of the most important players. I was surprised. I wasn’t sure about him, but now he is a different player