Sven-Goran Eriksson hails 'beautiful day' after realising lifelong Liverpool dream

Emotion: Sven-Goran Eriksson was left in tears by a brilliant reception at Anfield (AP)
Emotion: Sven-Goran Eriksson was left in tears by a brilliant reception at Anfield (AP)

An emotional Sven-Goran Eriksson hailed a “beautiful day” as he realised a lifelong ambition of managing Liverpool.

The former England boss was in the Anfield dugout on Saturday as a team of Reds legends took on Ajax in the latest annual charity friendly match held to raise money for the LFC Foundation.

Eriksson was invited by Liverpool to take part in the event after publicly disclosing in January that he had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.

It was an emotional afternoon on Merseyside, with the 76-year-old given a wonderful reception by fans and players, receiving standing ovations both before and after the game.

Eriksson was in tears as he received the adulation of the Anfield crowd and lined up for a particularly poignant pre-match rendition of Liverpool’s club anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

"That will be a huge memory in life. Absolutely beautiful,” he said afterwards.

"To sit on the bench for Liverpool, that's been my dream my whole life. Now it happened, and it was a beautiful day in all meanings.

"The crowd, the game, the players, everything, fantastic, and thank you to Liverpool for giving me this opportunity, to invite me for such an important game - it's not points but the importance of the game is incredible.

"It was full of emotions, tears coming. It's been my dream club all my life - even when I had England, I also supported Liverpool, but I couldn't say it at that time.

"It's a good finish, to finish with Liverpool, it can't be much better than that."

Liverpool fought back to make it a winning occasion for Eriksson, who was managing the last game of an illustrious career that has spanned five decades.

Trailing 2-0 at half-time to goals from Derk Boerrigter and Kiki Musampa, the Reds roared back in the second half and ran out emphatic 4-2 winners courtesy of Gregory Vignal, Djibril Cisse, Nabil El Zhar and Fernando Torres, who set the seal on an epic fightback by netting in front of The Kop.

Afterwards, Steven Gerrard, who captained Liverpool on his latest return to Anfield, saluted his former England manager and credited him with inspiring such a memorable comeback.

"He made a lot of changes at half-time, gave us more width. He's still got it - still got the magic!" Gerrard said.

On playing under Eriksson again, Gerrard added: “Sven being here today, it was special. When I heard he was going to be the gaffer today I couldn't wait to come and play for him one more time."