Treat for Saints manager Adkins as he finally gets to face his boyhood team
22:30 GMT, 30 November 2012
Southampton manager Nigel Adkins has wanted to face Liverpool for years – and is finally getting the opportunity.
The 47-year-old was a schoolboy at Liverpool when he was a young goalkeeper before eventually signing his first professional contract at Tranmere.
When he was manager at Scunthorpe every time the club were in the third-round FA Cup draw he hoped his hometown club would be pulled out of the bag.
Fun times: Nigel Adkins will enjoy going to Anfield… provided Luis Suarez doesn't run riot
That never happened – but back-to-back promotions has meant he no longer needs to rely on a lucky cup draw to face his former club and will head to Anfield for the first time on Saturday.
Adkins said: 'We will relish going to a big stadium like Liverpool. I have good memories of Liverpool. I remember training with Ray Clemence and saving a penalty from Graeme Souness in a practice game and playing alongside Alan Hansen and Kenny Dalglish in small-sides games.
'I enjoyed being at Anfield as a player and I’m looking forward to going there as a manager'
The Saints boss learned a lot from his time at Liverpool and their ethics still influence his managerial decisions today.
He added: 'You grow up with the history of Liverpool Football Club. When you are there it models your thoughts – the culture surrounding it. There were close-knit training session in the evenings with the likes of Roy Evans, Ronnie Moran and Joe Fagan around. Bob Paisley would give us a team talk before a FA Youth Cup game.
'They have always had this continuity and the next manager would always come through the system and they kept that continuity which was good. It showed that they had close-knit group of staff who all contribute in a big way.'
He is not the only one at Southampton to dream of going to Anfield. Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has been a Liverpool fan since his time as an academy player in France. He said when he was growing up in France people either chose the Merseyside club or Manchester United but his mind was made up watching them come back against AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final.
Collection duty: Morgan Schneiderlin (right) might pick up a few Liverpool shirts
He said: 'I was in an academy in Strasbourg and we were watching the game in the same room, there were just an amazing atmosphere, 40 young players were watching that game. It was an amazing moment and I picked them.'
The 23-year-old has already has his friends in France on the phone trying to persuade him to get various players shirts after the match. He has always been a huge fan of Steven Gerrard and will get his shirt first – but only if Southampton win today.
Schneiderlin added: 'Some friends already called me and said “Morgan bring me the shirt, bring me the shirt”. I'm not focussed on that but I will see at the end of the game if we win I will ask for some shirts. If we lose I will be in the shower as quick as possible and gone.'
If Saints win today you might see a young midfielder running around collecting as many Liverpool shirts as possible after the final whistle.