Ahead of Liverpool’s final Champions League group stage match, Kostas Tsimikas joined Jurgen Klopp at the press conference in Milan. This all but confirms that the Greek player will be starting at left-back in place of Andy Robertson.
The Reds have already qualified for the knockout round, but they are hoping to get a perfect 18 points from the six group stage games. Tsimikas may not be Klopp’s first choice wingback, but he has proved so far this season that he is an excellent option in that position.
When asked about his life in Liverpool, Tsimikas is enthusiastic about the challenge facing him.
“For me, it was a dream I had as a young kid to play in a big team,” Tsimikas said. “My dream came true – I came to Liverpool. I’m very happy to work with these players, with this gaffer. It’s very important. For me, I think I have a lot of things to solve and I will try to do it in every single moment I get the chance.”
He wears his nickname of the Greek Scouser with rueful pride, explaining, “With the boys here, I try to speak Scouse sometimes. I try – I’m not good enough! I’m Greek also and that’s why ‘Greek Scouser’.”
For years, Liverpool have gotten by with only one left-back and one right-back and only makeshift substitutes and Academy players to give Trent Alexander-Arnold and Robertson a break. Having a player like Tsimikas, who can hold his own and jump into the position without an appreciable dip in quality, is a luxury we’re all trying to get used to.
Tsimikas understands the importance of his position and how much work it requires.
“I think I’ve developed a lot as a player,” he said about his time so far working with Klopp. “The boss helps me a lot, even last season when I was injured and had COVID and it was a very tough moment for me. But during the time I tried a lot, I worked a lot to think [about] what the manager wants in the game. I saw Robbo a lot of times when he played [and] tried to do exactly the same. It takes time when you work with a gaffer like this [one] we have. I developed a lot but still have a lot to improve.”
Tsimikas has eight starts under his belt and looks set to make number nine on Tuesday. As the games pile up through December and January, we’ll no doubt see him even more.