Szoboszlai in a battle with neighbour Haaland and pal Nkunku to be king of Prem
LIVERPOOL midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai has warned best mate Erling Haaland that he hasn’t followed him to the Premier League for second place.
The £60million Hungarian international forged a close bond with the Manchester City striker when they were team-mates at RB Salzburg – and he has now even bought a house on the same millionaires’ row as the Treble-winning Norwegian.
But just two games into the new campaign and Szoboszlai is already coveting his neighbour’s title.
The 22-year-old Anfield newcomer also has City defender Josko Gvardiol and Chelsea striker Christopher Nkunku in his circle of friends.
When he was asked which of the three clubs would prevail this season, he didn’t hesitate.
“Us,” said Szoboszlai, trying to disguise a grin that suggested he might be on a wind-up. “No, I am not joking. I always think that way. Even if it is hard.
“There are some very good teams in the Premier League – but we are also very good. We have a very good coach and players. We’ll do our best – and at the end I want to be first.
“I think everybody in the Premier League who has any chance to win feels like this. We are all thinking the same. Probably the other guys are going to say the same as me.
“I am this type. I like to win and I like to do everything for the team. If they ask me if I want to win the Premier League, of course I want to win it. Ask if I want to win the Europa League and the FA Cup, it’s the same.
“I want to win everything – no one is going to ask you how it feels to finish second.”
Szoboszlai can talk the talk alright – though conversations with his pal Haaland tend to be about anything other than playing football.
“When I am speaking with Erling, it is not about football,” he revealed. “He knows my family, I know his family a little bit.
“We speak about how they are, how he is. Everyday stuff, not about the football.
“He came here and scored over 50 goals in a season. I knew he was going to do it because I knew his quality. What he did last year he is probably going to continue.
“Erling is my really good friend but I don’t really care about that for any 95 or 100 minutes we play each other – and he probably doesn’t care as well.
“This is normal. I am looking out for myself and my team-mates and if I am going to score a lastminute goal to win against Erling I am even happier.” Szoboszlai’s father Szolt enjoyed a professional career of his own before taking charge of his son’s early coaching with a dedication which eventually saw him establish his own academy team. The midfielder left home at 14 to pursue his dream with RB Salzburg before moving on to the Austrian champions’ sister club in Leipzig. In the summer of 2022, Szoboszlai scored the penalty that secured victory for Hungary in a Nations League clash with England in Budapest.
But it was his impressive performances in the German Bundesliga and Champions League last season that was to really catch the attention of a host of Europe’s top clubs.
Liverpool’s opponents today, Newcastle United, were linked with Szoboszlai before the Anfield side moved to trigger the buy-out clause in his RB Leipzig contract earlier this summer – just as the young star was enjoying a holiday in Croatia.
The Hungarian will experience the St James’ Park atmosphere for the first time when Jurgen Klopp’s men travel to Tyneside this afternoon to face the team that beat them to a top-four place last season.
Szoboszlai said: “I left everything about transfers to my agent. I just do my thing and if something comes up he is going to tell me.
At the end I want to be first. I want to win everything because nobody is going to ask you how it feels to be second
“I was on holiday with friends when Liverpool came in – and of course I was really enjoying myself.
“Then my phone rang and my agent said, ‘OK, now you have to stop enjoying that holiday and take care of yourself! Now you have to leave’.”