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Liverpool cult hero 'didn't realize how good he was' and thought he was joining Everton

Mohamed Salah, Ragnar Klavan and Alberto Moreno during a Liverpool training session at the Michigan Stadium.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)


Former Liverpool center-back Ragnar Klavan has revealed that Jurgen Klopp had to convince him of how good he was after he made the dream transfer to Anfield. At the time, he thought he was signing for Everton.

"It was around May 2016 when my life really changed," Klavan told Liverpool's official website. "This was the first time I became aware there was some interest from Liverpool.

"My agent said, 'The Liverpool team is interested.' I asked, 'Everton?' He said, 'No, no, the red ones!' I wasn't some kind of superstar in Germany, I was just a hard-working player, so to get this kind of news shocked my world. A few months later, I fulfilled my dream by completing the transfer to Liverpool and my world pretty much changed overnight."

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Klavan was delighted to secure the transfer but also felt that it was a big step up. He needed a confidence boost to get used to playing with players like Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk.

"It was really strange because the other clubs I played at had country-based or city-based recognition," Klavan continued. "Suddenly, I – a rather shy person, to be honest had this worldwide recognition now and it was something totally new for me.

"I flew back home once via Stockholm in Sweden. In passport control, the officer was like, 'Oh, you're a Liverpool player!' But it was a dream come true and I had worked so hard for this opportunity.

"I remember Jurgen Klopp once said I didn't even realize how good I was. With me, it's a blessing and a curse to not be a confident player. Not that I saw myself as a not-worthy player or whatever, instead it just pushed me to do extra training — even when I was a young player.

"Growing up in Estonia, we only had one player — Mart Poom — who made it to the top leagues. It wasn't easy at all to come from Estonia to Liverpool.

"I was really self-critical of myself, 'OK, this is not good enough. I need to do more work.' As a young player, you adapt to some habits and my habits were to be really self-critical and do more work, be self-critical and do more work — over and over again. As I said, a blessing and a curse.

"It took me a couple of months to get used to the pace and environment in training at Liverpool. Thankfully I could adapt and went on to have two amazing seasons."

Liverpool.com says: Klavan was a really solid back-up option for Liverpool. He was a surprise signing but a vital one, a bit like Wataru Endo, and it might be something for the Reds to think about again in the future. He was a cheap solution who proved that there are those out there.