Almost instantly after stepping out of an early afternoon briefing with his coaching staff, Jurgen Klopp’s trademark grin was illuminating the landing area of Melwood’s first floor Tuesday.
Allan Rodrigues de Souza was back at the club’s training complex for the first time since completing a loan spell in Finland, and his new manager was eager to make him feel welcome.
As Klopp took the opportunity to dedicate his complete attention to the midfielder, the Brazilian proudly handed over a couple of souvenirs from his time with Seinajoen Jalkapallokerho — a No. 28 jersey he wore while competing in the Finnish top flight and a league title winners’ medal — for the boss to inspect.
Liverpool moved to secure the services of Allan from Internacional in September before immediately sending him out on loan to SJK to gain some vital experience in European soccer.
It proved to be a profitable stint, including two goals and five assists in eight appearances from the 18-year-old to help his temporary club to their first ever Veikkausliiga title, pipping the usually dominant HJK Helsinki to the crown.
“It was a very important experience for me — it was good to get some game time as I hadn’t been playing in a while,” Allan explained as he sat down with LiverpoolFC.com for the first time. “Moreover, I had never played a game at professional level before, so it was very valuable time I’ve spent there.
“It’s only been seven years since SJK were founded, and they were a second-division club until recently.
“They had finished third in the league two years ago and were runners-up last season, and now this year we’ve won the league. It’s been very rewarding, and I’m very happy we did it.”
Both Liverpool and the player himself believe that spell with SJK could go a long way to assisting Allan in his attempts to fulfill his visibly vast potential.
With his loan spell at SJK now complete, Allan will be allowed a few days to return to Brazil and catch his breath after an incredible few weeks.
Thumbnail photo via LiverpoolFC.com
Thumbnail photo via Allan Rodrigues de Souza meet Jurgen Klopp