Liverpool’s first-team squad took time out of their preparations for Sunday’s clash with Arsenal to bring some festive cheer to the wards at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital today.
For one extra special afternoon Rafa’s stars were only too happy to play the role of Santa as they delivered presents, posed for pictures and signed autographs for kids who, sadly, face the prospect of spending the Christmas period in hospital.
After being split into groups and loaded up with goody bags, the players made their way around a series of wards. All the children were thrilled to come face to face with their Liverpool heroes and have a one-off chance to talk football with their favourite stars.
While it was a day of excitement for the kids, it was one of emotion for the players, who were pleased to be able to play their part in making some special Christmas dreams come true.
Reds skipper Steven Gerrard was clearly affected by the occasion but admitted that it felt good to give something back at Christmas.
“It means an awful lot to the players to come here and see the children here today,” Gerrard told Liverpoolfc.tv.
“I know a lot of the players have got kids themselves, so to come here and give the children presents will hopefully put a smile on some of their faces. We get a good buzz out of it when we go home and realise that we’ve given something back.
“It can be very difficult and emotional for the players coming here, especially for the foreign players who might find it more difficult with the language. But it’s certainly been worthwhile – we’ve spent a few hours here and covered a lot of wards.
“It’s been great to see a lot of children smiling today and hopefully it will help them. It gives us a lift to know that they are happy to see us.”
Irish striker Robbie Keane added: “It can be heartbreaking when you know that a lot of these kids will be in hospital for Christmas. It’s a difficult time but hopefully we can cheer them up.
“Being here today puts things into perspective for all of us. As players sometimes we can moan about small things, but when you come to hospital and see the kids you really feel sorry for them and their parents.
“I’ve done this for the last 10 years now – pretty much since I started playing. It’s always very special seeing the kids just before Christmas and giving them a little boost – it makes the players happy to put a little smile on their faces.”
Our photographer was with the players earlier today to snap the Liverpool stars bringing Christmas cheer to the hospital wards.
*Article and photos are from Liverpoolfc.tv*
p/s – Sometimes, I just can’t imagine their characters, off the pitch. Liv Lads, especially Stevie and Carra are adorable with the kids. Hehe!
p/p/s – LIVERPOOL vs ARSENAL (Saturday, 20th December 2008), GOOD LUCK LIV LADS!!