Former Liverpool defender Abel Xavier has explained that he still holds his spell with the Reds close to his heart.

The ex-Portugal international, who is currently Mozambique’s national team manager, joined the Reds from their Merseyside rivals Everton in January 2002.

Xavier was loaned out to Galatasaray a year later before joining Hannover permanently at the start of the 2003/04 campaign.

But during his brief stay at Liverpool, the 43-year-old managed to play in the Champions League and win the League Cup.

And Xavier, who insisted that he is well received by both Liverpool and Everton fans, stated that his spell at Anfield “was really special” to him.


“It was a great time considering I came in from the rivals”, he told Liverpool’s official site.

“You need to have the free mind to make decisions and I did it.

“When I’m back in Liverpool, I’m well-respected by Evertonians and Reds, that is something that doesn’t happen often. It was satisfying in my mind when I played in the derby that I was not booed by the fans.

“I have a lot of respect for Liverpool [FC] because one thing is to be outside and speak about Liverpool and another thing is to have the opportunity to be inside – it’s a huge club.

“Particularly in the moment of Gerard Houllier, I think all that generation of players learned more than just football. We learned so much to play at the top level.

“With Gerard back with the team, the fact that we won titles and I was involved in the squad was very exciting.

“To play in the Champions League at Anfield, [I] miss the crowd singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. It’s something that if you are on the pitch then you will never forget.

“Liverpool, for me, was really special. I’m always following the teams where I’ve played. It’s natural to do because you care and you like these clubs to do well.”

Liverpool, who lost 3-2 to Southampton at the weekend, are currently ninth in the Premier League with 44 points from 29 games.

Jurgen Klopp’s team are seven points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City, who have played a game more.

Liverpool have also managed to reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League, where they will face German outfit Borussia Dortmund.