Former Liverpool striker Taiwo Awoniyi has shared what Jurgen Klopp told him before he completed a permanent move to Union Berlin last summer.
Taiwo Awoniyi left Liverpool last summer to join Union Berlin and he’s now got his wish to play Premier League football as he signed for Nottingham Forest earlier in the window.
The Nigeria international joined the Reds as a teenager in 2015, but failure to obtain a work permit meant he never made a senior appearance for the club. He spent his time out on loan at clubs across Europe, including the likes of Gent, Mainz and Union Berlin.
After a successful loan spell at Union Berlin in the 2020/21 season, Awoniyi completed a permanent move to the Bundesliga club. One year later, he’s back in the Premier League and ready to make an impact with Nottingham Forest. He scored the only goal of their 1-0 win over West Ham last weekend and they now prepare to take on Everton this Saturday.
The 25-year-old opened up on the difficulty of waiting for a work permit, but said training with Liverpool during pre-season was a valuable experience. He also shared the conversation with Klopp before he completed a permanent move away from the club.
“It was frustrating because every summer I’d be in pre-season training at Liverpool waiting to see how it goes with the permit,” he said in an interview with The Telegraph. “I hadn’t played for my national team or in any of Europe’s top five league.
“In the end I’d have to go out on loan, but in life I have been in more difficult situations than that. I’ve always believed I would play in the Premier League. It has always been my biggest target as a football players.
“Even when I was in Liverpool’s second team I learned so much. The way they set up training, and all the fantastic players around me, made it a learning process. Before I left, he (Klopp) told me that Union Berlin were pushing everything to sign me permanently (after a successful loan spell in 2020-21).
“He said, ‘That is the key for a player, the moment a team wants to sign you so much that means you belong there.’ That was the last discussion we had and he was right.”