Former Liverpool forward wanted to leave Liverpool after training with Mo Salah
| Last updated
Nottingham Forest forward Taiwo Awoniyi wanted to leave Liverpool after training with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
Awoniyi missed out on his latest reunion with former club Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, having picked up a groin injury.
The Nigeria international started the season in a rich vein of form, scoring in each of his club’s first three games of the campaign before recording back-to-back assists. Such a run was just a continuation from the end of last season when he netted six goals and an assist from Forest’s final six games.
Having settled at Forest, Awoniyi reflected on his time at Liverpool, where he never made an appearance across six years due to not being granted a work permit. Indeed, Liverpool sold Awoniyi to Union Berlin in a £6.5million deal in July 2021, following a succession of loans in Germany, Holland and Belgium.
Awoniyi claimed that training with the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane helped him realise it was time to leave Liverpool.
“The training sessions, wow! I knew that this is the kind of training that you win something from!” Awoniyi told Livepoolfc.com. “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. But in life sometimes you have to make tough decisions, and I knew for me that I needed to go and play every week.
“You look at the time, there was Salah, Mane, 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.”
Nevertheless, Awoniyi is still grateful to his former club for the role they played in his career.
He explained: “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. 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 am.”
SPORTbible are on WhatsApp! We've launched a dedicated news channel to send you the latest news, features and plenty more directly on WhatsApp and all you need to do to sign up is click through to our one-way broadcast channel here for 'SPORTbible News' to appear in the 'Updates' tab on your WhatsApp.