Chipolopolo striker Patson Daka has described his trip to Anfield Stadium in England as a dream come true.
Daka, who is part of the Austrian champions’ squad for the Champions League Group E fixture, can still remember the process that made him a huge Liverpool fan.
“When I was a kid, in my family we had a kind of competition that everybody has to support a famous football team,” the 2017 CAF Young Player of the Year tells Liverpoolfc.com. “My father was a Chelsea fan, my sister supported Arsenal, so I chose Liverpool. One of the first really great moments was when Liverpool beat AC Milan in the Champions League final in 2005… Famous players I really love to remember playing here were Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez.”
The match is clearly of special significance to the 20-year-old, who came on as a substitute in the 6-2 win over Genk on matchday one.
But putting fandom aside, Daka was determined to depart Merseyside with a result in hand, not just memories to last a lifetime.
“With my first step on the grass of Anfield, a dream will come true,” he continues. “I have seen so many matches on TV and I have heard so many stories about it. But the reason why we are here with Salzburg is to play successful football. We will do everything to score on Wednesday.”
Daka’s presence at Anfield will make it a rather surreal experience for one of his former coaches.
Irfan Kawri coached Daka and his Salzburg teammate Enock Mwepu when part of the coaching staff with the Zambia national team.
Like Daka, he is a big supporter of the Reds.
He watched the game and, while still wanted Jürgen Klopp’s side to secure victory, hoped to see two opponents in particular shine on the big stage.
“It is a very unique situation obviously,” Kawri says. “Being a Red all my life but then having two opposition players who are flying the flag for my beloved Zambia. I think an ideal situation would be for Liverpool to win, but both Patson and Enock to play well. I always knew he [Daka] had the potential to go far. For him to be playing at Anfield against the European champions is amazing and it is an unbelievable achievement, but I guess that’s what dreams are made of.”
Salzburg’s Zambian pair draw inspiration from players they may have encountered in yesterday’s game.
“I spoke to them the other day and both of them grew up supporting Liverpool,” Kawri adds. “And to see fellow African players Mane and Salah, they are inspired by them and want to follow in their footsteps. Liverpool has a huge following in Zambia.”