Ian Rush, a legendary player for Liverpool, retired in the year 2000 with a total of 356 goals to his credit, of which 346 were scored while he was playing for the Merseyside club. This made him the all-time leading goal-scorer for The Reds, a record that is still in place today. At Anfield, he won a total of seven major titles, including two Champions Leagues, five Premier Leagues, and three FA Cups. Yesterday, the great striker sat down with Shabab Chowdhury of The Daily Star for an interview in which they covered a wide range of topics related to Merseyside.
How could a childhood Everton supporter join for Merseyside rivals Liverpool? such is the question posed by the Daily Star (DS).
To quote Ian Rush (IR):I am able to explain the logic behind that decision. Everton manager Gordon Lee came to see me play when I was 17 and playing for Chester City. It’s something I’ll never forget because it was in the press; it was on a Monday, and he claimed that Ian Rush wasn’t good enough to play for Everton. When I was a child, when I was 17, I was playing for Chester City. I was absolutely shattered. So, three months later, I signed with Liverpool, and my first thought was that I was going to make them pay, and that’s exactly what I did. I made them pay. I’ve had a lot of success scoring goals against Everton. If Everton had indicated that they wanted to sign me, I would have signed for Everton, but they said no, so I signed for their opponents and made them pay for it. If Everton had said that they wanted to sign me, I would have signed for Everton.
DS: When it came to moving to other clubs, who were some of the people that affected your decisions?
IR: If I had to guess, I’d say it was me. It was only me who moved to Liverpool for what was then a world record sum of 300,000 British pounds. It wasn’t my father, nor was it anybody else. Although Bob Paisley was helpful, the manager of Chester, Alan Oakes, was also quite helpful to me. It was his suggestion that you go to Liverpool. He warned me that the first year would be the worst, and he was right. He said that if you don’t like it there is always the option of going back to Chester. Therefore, for this reason, I chose to give it a go, and he wasn’t incorrect; for the first year, I didn’t like it at all since it was so challenging. To my good fortune, I just persisted in my efforts.
DS: What characteristics make a striker in today’s game?
IR: You need to look at it from a variety of perspectives; it depends. What kind of striker are you interested in? For me, it’s self-assurance. I have never been afraid of making a mistake. They put forth a lot of effort for the squad. If you’re simply an individual striker, there will be other people on your team, but the difference between you and a top striker is that a top striker will put in a lot of effort for the team. You are focusing on the fact that he does not score in every game, even though you realize that this is unlikely. But I believe that so long as you work hard for the team and you put your graft in, I think it makes it a regular one. If you don’t work hard for the team, you don’t want to remain and simply tap goals in, so that makes it a normal one, in my opinion. Have self-assurance. They won’t ever be afraid of missing the target. When it comes to strikers, I believe that mental toughness is the component that is most essential to me. You must have the mental fortitude required. If you are aware of it, you won’t feel as if you are missing out on anything. You find yourself back there on several occasions. If you don’t get yourself into the right places, you won’t be able to earn any points.
DS: You’ve been on some really successful Liverpool teams. What role do you think Jurgen Klopp will have in the club’s history going forward?
IR: However, as I already said, in my opinion, he is a contemporary version of Bill Shankly. That’s all there is to it. He’s very happy about the fact that Joe Fagan and Bob Paisley didn’t do it to each other. But if you simply sat back as a manager, particularly in the environment we live in now, I believe the fans would have a go at you. This is something I believe is very true. Even if they claim that they do not mean it, they are nevertheless obligated to carry it out. When Klopp finishes a game and walks around punching his arms, the fans go wild for him. However, if you do not comply with what he instructs you to do, you will not be allowed to participate in the game.
The way we used to play in the ’80s was different from the way we play today in that we would push down from the front of the field. That was begun by us. People point to Barcelona, but we were the ones who began it. When asked who Liverpool’s best defender is, Liverpool’s midfielders often pointed to Ian Rush as the answer. Everyone is attempting to play in such a manner. It’s OK if you do that for the first 45 minutes, but if you don’t push for the whole 90 minutes, Jurgen won’t let you back in the game.
DS: In the current age, which of the following strikers do you consider to be your favorite?
IR: Aguero was certainly one of the finest players in the Premier League, but I’d have to say that Harry Kane is the best overall player in the league. You had [Erling] Haaland, who was absolutely without a doubt the player of the year for the previous campaign. He was fantastic, but at this point in the season, he has to prove himself once again. People would be looking out for it in a big way. He was deserving of all that came his way since he was an outstanding individual.
I couldn’t choose a player from Liverpool as our number nine since we don’t currently have a player who can legitimately be considered that. You are relying on [Darwin] Nunez to carry out your plan. It’s possible that he would be in the same position as Haaland if he had taken some risks the year before. Because he has all of the necessary resources, I have no doubt that he will be able to do anything of the kind this year. Before we had Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah, we didn’t have much of a scoring threat. Although none of them were number nines, they were very helpful to one another.
There are a lot of qualified people that may be considered for the strike force. Salah, Cody Gakpo, Nunez, Luis Diaz, and Diego Jota were the players that contributed. It wouldn’t shock me if all five of them played at the same time!
DS: Who was the person who you had the most fun playing with?
IR: Kenny Dalglish is the only possible answer. In my opinion, he is the most talented player that Liverpool has ever had. Because I was so fast, he was the ideal partner for me despite his limitless capabilities. Kenny would always place the ball in front of me rather than at my feet when he passed it to me. It didn’t make a difference to me whether side of the defender he placed it on since I was prepared for it and able to kick with either foot.
When he did that to me for the first time, I didn’t run away, and when he gave me that expression and looked at me with those eyes, I knew that I had it by then.
DS: Given the present roster of players, who of those individuals would you most like to compete with?
IR: Previously, [Steven] Gerrard would have been the natural choice for me to have made. If you look at Mohamed Salah, particularly if he plays in the center of the field, we would have gotten in each other’s way, but if he played on the flank, it would have been him who scored the goal. Since I like to play in the middle of the field, Mo would have been better off on the wing.
DS: Do you think Liverpool will have another shot at winning the championship in the following season?
IR: Let’s keep our fingers crossed, but I believe the primary goal should be to finish in the top four.The odds are stacked in favor of Manchester City winning. They aren’t as powerful, but they have a fantastic group of players to work with. The four of us (Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Newcastle) have made strides in our development. It really cannot get much worse for Chelsea. If we’re able to have a successful run in the cup, I’d love it if we could also perform well in the Europa League. If you are victorious in this tournament, you will advance to the Champion’s League.
DS: It’s time for your predictions. Which four clubs do you think will finish in the top spots in the standings?
IR: It seems likely that Manchester City will be there. After that, I’d want to suggest Manchester United, followed by Arsenal and Liverpool.