Not everyone knew’ – Robbie Keane reveals role in Liverpool icon’s decision to leave the club.
Robbie Keane will make a long overdue return to Anfield next weekend as he looks to roll back the years in the Red shirt once more.
The former Republic of Ireland international will line up for the Reds against Manchester United in a Legends match on Saturday, September 24. A boyhood fan of the club in Dublin, Keane fulfilled a dream by moving to Merseyside from Tottenham in 2008, spending six months with the club.
Keane’s Liverpool tenure was much shorter than he had envisaged, but Ireland’s all-time record goal scorer has no regrets and is looking forward to trotting out onto the famous turf once more.
Speaking to Liverpool’s official website, he said: “Unfortunately I couldn’t make the last game, I had something on. I’m looking forward to this one now and obviously playing at Anfield is definitely a lot better than playing at Old Trafford! I’m looking forward to seeing old faces, players I used to play with and players that I’ve come across in the last few years since I’ve been retired. It’s always nice to see the lads and I’m excited for the game.
“Obviously my intention was to stay there for as long as possible. But in football, as we know, it happens, things change. Of course I would’ve liked to stay a little bit longer but it wasn’t meant to be. The manager had different ideas, which is fine and I’ve got no problem with that, everyone’s got their own ideas and I respect that. But I do reflect on it [with] no regrets. I was very fortunate to pull that jersey on and have some good moments – scoring against Arsenal in the Emirates, that half-volley and goals like that. That will always stay forever.”
Keane scored seven goals in 28 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool – including a memorable first half stunner against the Gunners in the Premier League – before making a January deadline day move back to Tottenham Hotspur. He would eventually travel to America to play for LA Galaxy in 2011 and revealed that he had a big hand to convincing Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard to join him in California when the iconic midfielder’s Anfield career came to an end four years later.
Keane said: “I had a big influence in getting Stevie. We’re good pals and for him to come over was great to spend that last year with him. Not everyone knew that the two of us played together. In LA, [football] was taking off massively towards the end of my time there. There was certainly a lot of Liverpool fans and people always remind me of that Arsenal goal, which is always nice being an ex-Tottenham player as well.”
The prolific Irish forward also had words of praise for fellow countryman Caoimhin Kelleher, with the Reds’ goalkeeper proving to be a more than capable understudy for Alisson Becker.
Keane added: “He’s certainly a goalkeeper that should be a No.1 but when you’ve got a world-class ‘keeper in front of you like Alisson, he’ll just have to bide his time. Definitely very impressed with him. We’ve been very lucky in the Irish team that we have really good goalkeepers. I’ve definitely been impressed with Caoimhin, just the way he plays – how comfortable, how calm he is in possession of the ball, he has a real presence about him. As I said before, if he didn’t have someone like Alisson in front of him, you’d imagine he possibly could be No.1.”