Sami set for player-coach role?

Finnish defender Sami Hyypia is celebrating his tenth season at Anfield and after winning a contract extension last summer, looks set to extend his stay again this summer after more impressive performances of late.

According to former Liverpool Echo journalist Chris Bascombe, the 35 year-old centre back has been “earmarked for an Anfield player-coach role at the end of the season”.

Hyypia was signed by Gerard Houllier for a bargain £2.6m in 1999 and despite competition from Carragher, Agger and Skrtel, has made 16 appearances this season, including all three of the Reds’ games thus far in 2009.

It is reported Benitez sees Big Sami as an ideal role model for younger players at the club, and who can argue with that. Always professional both on and off the pitch, he has made over 300 appearances for Liverpool, is closing in on 100 appearances for his country and has won the Finnish player of the year award an incredible 7 times in the last 9 seasons.

Further good news for Hyypia, who wasn’t included in the Reds’ Champions League squad at the start of the season is that he is set to be added to the squad for the knockout stages in place of full-back flops Degen or Dossena, meaning he will be eligible for the last 16 match with Real Madrid (25th Feb and 10th March).