If you came of age as a Liverpool supporter in the early years of the 21st century, you probably have a soft spot for Sami Hyypia.
The former reds captain was a bedrock of the side under Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez, with the Champions League win in 2005 being merely the highlight of an impervious career as a centre back. Virgil van Dijk might be a better defender overall, but it’s still fair to say we haven’t had a centre back partnership this decade as good as Hyypia and Jamie Carragher.
As for how he’s doing right now? Well, he’s quite excited about where Liverpool might be going.
“Everyone remembers you when you win trophies – even 15 or 20 years on,” The Mirror report Hyypia as saying.
“When I’m back in Liverpool, everyone mentions that night in Istanbul in 2005 – something like that stays with the fans. No one forgets those achievements.
“That’s why this city will go crazy if they manage to win the title this year.
“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 title – because it’s been so long. There will be wild celebrations and also a place in history for the players. It will be special.”
Of course, he was there for Liverpool’s Champions League win this year, adding that “last May, I was in Madrid and people were trying to get me to fly back to Liverpool to celebrate, but I couldn’t because I had to be in Finland the next day.
“I saw the pictures and the footage of the celebrations and I was sad that I couldn’t have been there because it was tremendous.
“But I promise I won’t miss the party if we become champions next year.”
Speaking of the serious title chances, Hyypia added that “it’s a great thing that no one left last summer – they kept all their big players. And, when I see them play, it looks like everyone wants to be there to play for this club and be in this team.
“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 Mané, but, far from thinking that was damaging to the dressing room spirit, I thought that showed how strong it is.
“It just shows that everyone wants to win together and what a great group Klopp has built with that dynamic.”
This Liverpool team are fantastic. Ex-players can see it, fans can see it, everyone can see it. Just keep it going.