Football - Liverpool FC: LIVERPOOL defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos admits he is desperate to end his first season in England with a trophy.
The Greek international has proved a big hit at Anfield since he was snapped up from AEK Athens for £2million last August.
Kyrgiakos was signed as a replacement for Sami Hyypia but with Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel ahead of him in the pecking order his opportunities were expected to be limited.
However, injuries to fellow defenders have ensured the 6ft 4ins defender has had a key role to play and he’s hoping to make his 20th appearance for the club in tomorrow night’s Europa League semi-final second leg against Atletico Madrid at Anfield.
On a personal level it’s been a campaign of great progress for the former Rangers star and he wants to finish it by helping Liverpool clinch European glory in Hamburg on May 12.
“I have been pleased with my form,” he said. “I have a good relationship with the fans and I can see that they like me because I give everything for the club.
“Some of my team-mates have told me that I have become a favourite among the fans and I am proud of that because it is important for a footballer to be remembered in a positive way once he has gone.
“But this isn’t the time to reflect. You have to keep going, then in the summer you can look back and analyse the season.
“That might not be possible until July because I have the World Cup with Greece and providing I am fit, I should be in the squad.
“At the moment my mind is focused on Liverpool and if we finish the season with a trophy that would mark a satisfying season for me. Last pre-season I never thought I’d even be at Liverpool.”
Fellow Liverpool centre-back Carragher will move to joint seventh in the club’s all-time appearance list tomorrow night.
Carragher will play his 628th game against Atletico Madrid to go level with legendary goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar. His next target is sixth placed Tommy Smith who played 638 matches.
Meanwhile, Glen Johnson has revealed that if Liverpool go on to win the Europa League his winners’ medal will be going straight to his mum.
The 25-year-old hands all his medals and shirts to his mum Wendy as a thank-you for bringing him up through adversity.
During a difficult childhood in South East London there was a time when his family were living in a hostel for the homeless.
“I wouldn’t be sitting here in an England tracksuit now if it wasn’t for all my mum’s sacrifices and everything she did for me,” he said.
“She had a tough time, bringing up three kids as a single parent with no help apart from the goodwill of close friends, and there were times when we had nowhere to stay.
“At one point we were homeless and staying in a hostel, but once mum got herself on her feet after a few hard years, and passed her driving test so she could take me to football every week, that gave us a fresh start.
“She’s got all the medals I’ve won, all the shirts and souvenirs, as my way of thanking her for bringing me up.”