Brad Smith delighted with Liverpool redemption, hails Klopp
The Socceroos left-back has thrived at Anfield since signing a new Liverpool contract, with “hands-on” manager Jurgen Klopp having played a crucial role his development
On the eve of Liverpool’s FA Cup third round replay, Australian rising star Brad Smith has spoken of his delight at taking his second chance with the Reds.
Liverpool face Exeter City on Wednesday (Thursday morning AEDT) at Anfield, with Smith hoping to start after his well-taken goal in the first leg away to the League Two club, which ended 2-2.
But the Socceroos left-back has spoken of his fears for his Liverpool future after a European summer standoff with the club, following the expiration of his previous contract.
The situation dragged on for months but since signing a new deal in December and the arrival of charismatic manager Jurgen Klopp, the planets have aligned for Smith and his career at one of the Premier League’s biggest clubs is now on the up.
That FA Cup goal on a rough paddock in Devon in a very young Reds outfit and a deft assist for Divock Origi’s header in a 6-1 mauling of Southampton in the League Cup have been moments to savour in Smith’s resurgence at Anfield.
“What happened in the summer is in the past. I am just trying to enjoy my football,” the 21-year-old told the Liverpool Echo.
“It was great to score and great to get an assist for Divock as well in my first game for a long time.
“That was a great feeling.”
While his contract dispute was being sorted out Smith trialled at Barnsley and Rosenborg before re-signing near the end of 2015.
“Was I worried it was the end? Yes definitely. A lot of things go through your mind when things like that are happening,” he said.
“I was living with my mum at the time and I was speaking to staff at Liverpool throughout the whole time.
“I am just glad the way it has turned out.”
And with the early stages of the FA Cup offering a golden chance for younger squad players to shine, Smith has taken his chance.
“I felt a little bit like a senior player [against Exeter]… I know I am not the youngest in the group anymore so I tried to help out. It was good,” the Australian said.
“We all dug in and it was good. If people were expecting us to fail then that’s up to them, but the boys dug in. They didn’t get what they wanted.”
Smith added: “I got a hug, yes, he [Klopp] loves his hugs doesn’t he?”
Klopp’s “hands on” nature is starting to reap dividends with Smith and the rest of Liverpool’s next generation.
“He [Klopp] has been telling me what he wants from me in terms of my crossing and when he wants me to put my crosses in, which is helping a lot to be honest,” Smith said.
“He is really good, he is always hands on with every single player as individuals. Everyone is benefiting.”