When goalkeeper Adrian arrived at Liverpool in 2019 on a free transfer from West Ham, he was meant to be as backup to Alisson Becker—but it didn’t quite start out that way. Before the end of the first half of the first game of the season, Alisson suffered an injury.
A week later in the UEFA Super Cup, he won the first trophy of his career and Liverpool’s first of a season that ended with Premier League glory. Filling in for Alisson in the Premier League, he went 8-0 to start that season with six goals against and two clean sheets.
He would fill in three more times that season, and the Reds recorded an 11-0 record when he played. Of Liverpool’s 99 points as they won their first title of the Premier League era, Adrian had a hand in 33. Since then, the 36-year-old has slipped to third on the depth chart, but he remains an important part of Jürgen Klopp’s squad.
“In life as well, sometimes you have different work and you have to change your role,” he said, reflecting on his time as a Red and the stage in his career he finds himself. “Obviously there are many games, many competitions. The club needs competitive players ready to go.
“From the beginning, I tried to support in the dressing room, show the level when I can and show my experience with the youngsters, try to speak with them in training or when we are travelling. At the end of the day, I’m always learning. I’m 36 now but I’m still learning.
“I’m feeling fresh and ready as always. I’m looking forward to working with the same group again with John [Achterberg], Jack [Robinson] and Taffa [Claudio Taffarel]. We have a great group of goalies and we support each other.”
Heading into his fifth season at the club, he also sees his role as providing leadership and guidance beyond the goalkeeping group—especially following the departure of veteran vice-captain James Milner to Brighton, which makes Adrian the club’s current oldest player.
Helping with younger players and helping provide a bridge between English speakers and the club’s large contingent of Spanish and Portuguese players perhaps isn’t something he would have imagined a decade ago, but the value it brings to the side was confirmed by the club extending his stay for another season.
“After Millie left, I’m the most experienced player in the dressing room now,” he added. “I have that role as well. I try to help the youngsters. We have a big Latin group as well, so I try to help them to settle as quick as possible—like Darwin [Nunez] learning English and Luis [Diaz] improving as well.
“We are like a family. We have to help each other to adapt as quick as possible, to play and to perform as well as possible. I’m one of the team players that tries to help and is ready for any opportunity.”