“After the first session, I just felt it like: ‘OK, let’s get ready.’”
As he prepares to make his competitive debut for Liverpool, summer signing Dominik Szoboszlai is determined to lift his levels further for the benefit of the Reds.
The Hungary captain, a two-time DFB-Pokal winner with previous club RB Leipzig, got another hour under his belt for Jürgen Klopp’s team as SV Darmstadt 98 were beaten 3-1 at Deepdale on Monday night.
Szoboszlai feels settled within his new squad ahead of the season kick-off at Chelsea this weekend, and is eager to provide – and enhance – his abilities now wearing the LFC shirt.
“When I played against Liverpool with Salzburg and Leipzig you could see they have a lot of quality,” the midfielder told Liverpoolfc.com during a chat on the recent tour of Singapore.
“When I knew I was going to join, I sat down for like five minutes and thought, ‘Well, I have to do now even more because they have really, really good quality, they have really, really good players.’ After the first session, I just felt it like: ‘OK, let’s get ready.’”
He added: “I came here because I already loved the club even when I didn’t play in front of the fans or in the stadium.
“I want to give my best, I want to do everything for the club, for the guys, for myself. And I want to win trophies and as much as I can, not only one.”
Szoboszlai’s integration to a new environment after his arrival at the club in July was aided by a familiar face in the form of Ibrahima Konate.
The pair were briefly teammates at Leipzig during the second half of 2020-21, before Konate made his move to Anfield following that season.
A long-time admirer of Klopp, Szoboszlai and the manager can converse alternately in German and English, with a preference for the former when it comes to specific instructions.
And the 22-year-old also quickly discovered an open group ready to welcome and help him.
“I know Ibou from Leipzig, so when I came he was the main guy who I spoke to the most because I knew him,” detailed Szoboszlai.
“But actually, everybody is really nice; Trent, Cody, Mo, everybody is trying to help me and if I have something, they are there.
“I understand English but my German is better, so if it’s a serious talk [with the manager] it’s probably going to be in German!”
In the first part of this pre-season interview, Szoboszlai revealed the excitement he felt in the days immediately leading up to his transfer to Liverpool last month.
The move caused a stir in his native Hungary, too, with the 32-cap international set to become only the third Hungarian to take to the pitch for the club’s men’s team.
And the incentive of making his country proud serves as another layer of motivation.
“The people were really nice, they were happy for me,” he said of the reaction to his switch at home. “I received a lot of messages from the national team as well, the coach.
“The people who are important for me – who are close to me and they know me – I had a chat with them and they were really nice.
“And of course the people in Hungary, it’s not an everyday story what I’m doing right now so hopefully I could make them happy – and even more later.”
Szoboszlai heads into his debut season on Merseyside under the guidance of a new senior leadership group inside the dressing room, with Virgil van Dijk appointed captain and Trent Alexander-Arnold vice-captain.
The No.8 has himself skippered Hungary since last November and is ready to support the side in terms of on-pitch responsibility wherever needed, too.
“The coach knows they are a leader and that’s why Virg got the captaincy and Trent got the vice-captaincy. They are ready for it,” he said.
“Trent is 24 but [has] a lot of experience in the Premier League, won everything with this club, born in Liverpool. It’s also a proud moment for both of them.
“I’m a guy in the midfield who wants to help them.
“I work for the team, I do everything and if I have to talk, I talk. With talks you can help the guys, and for me it’s most important to help others. I can take decisions that are not easy, but for me the team is in front of everything.”
Our conversation draws to a close via the subject of targets, with Szoboszlai notably having netted at least nine goals in all competitions in each of his previous six seasons as a professional.
He does not set personal objectives ahead of a campaign, however, seeing individual progress as a by-product of collective achievement.
“I just do my things,” Szoboszlai finished. “If the goals are coming they are coming, if the assists are coming they are coming.
“This is my target: the team should be successful. If the team is successful you’re going to be successful as a person, as a player.”