Taiwo Awoniyi reflects positively on his turbulent time at Liverpool

Taiwo Awoniyi spent six years under contract at Liverpool - yet never registered a single minute for the club.

A spell plagued by work permit issues, he spent the majority of his time at Anfield out on loan - playing for FSV Frankfurt, NEC Nijmegen, Mouscron, Gent, Mainz and, finally, Union Berlin, whom he joined on a permanent basis in 2021.

Now back in the Premier League as Nottingham Forest's star striker, Awoniyi has reflected on his turbulent yet valued experience as a Reds player.

“For me, going through all those clubs and all those stages, it was all with the aim of one day being back in the Premier League,” Awoniyi told Liverpool's official website. “I think in the end it was worth it, but I can say it was a tough journey.

“Liverpool, I always say, is a family club. You develop as a person as well as a footballer, and I give so much credit to Liverpool for the way they looked after me, all the time I was away. I’m forever grateful for that.

“It was an important period, really good for me, and it was a big reason I was able to develop into the player and the person I have.”

The Nigerian international has some positive memories from his time under Jurgen Klopp - and has particularly reminisced the pre-season camps he endured, the intensity of which were like no other.

Awoniyi added: “The training sessions, wow! I knew that this is the kind of training that you win something from! You don’t train like that and then at the end of the season you get nothing.

“For me as a player, that was the kind of environment I had always wanted."

However, in search of regular first-team football, Awoniyi made the decision to seek pastures new in 2021 - knowing that given the calibre of Liverpool's famous front-line, he stood little chance of breaking into the team.

"In life sometimes you have to make tough decisions, and I knew for me that I needed to go and play every week," he said.

“You look at the time, there was [Mohamed] Salah, [Sadio] Mane, [Roberto] Firmino and others. I knew the chances [to play] were very, very slim.

"I knew I needed to get to a place where I was playing every week. It was hard [to leave], but it was a decision I had to make.”

Despite becoming a regular fixture at Forest since his departure, he is unlikely to feature against the Reds in Sunday afternoon's clash at Anfield due to injury.

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