Speaking at the midpoint in his season-long loan with Aberdeen, Danny Ward has signalled his “ambition” to be Liverpool’s first-choice goalkeeper.
Ward joined the Dons in June, after signing a new long-term contract at Liverpool, and has become a key player for Derek McInnes, producing a number of top-level performances.
Aberdeen currently sit second in the Scottish Premiership, one point behind league leaders Celtic, and much of their success is due to Ward’s influence.
But while he has grown to become a fans’ favourite at Pittodrie, the Welshman has his sights set on a return to Merseyside.
Speaking to the Mail this week, Ward said “I would love to be [Liverpool’s] No. 1.”
“We’ve been doing well this season. I might not be called on for 80 minutes and then have an important save to make. It is similar to being a big club in England, like Liverpool.
“It is definitely an ambition of mine to be Liverpool’s first choice.
“I have a self-belief where I think I can play at the highest level. Ideally that’s at Liverpool, that would be fantastic.
“They gave me a new long-term contract before I came up. I took it to mean they think I have got a chance.
“Long term, I would love to be their No. 1.
“For now it’s about me taking the right steps and impressing for Aberdeen game by game.”
Pairing his strong performances with a maturity and confidence, Ward looks set to develop into a goalkeeper capable of thriving in the Premier League, and returning to Melwood to meet Jurgen Klopp in November, the 22-year-old ensured his presence was felt.
“To be at Liverpool you have to be a good player,” he continued.
“The manager seems to have been a breath of fresh air.
“When I went down, you sensed he had brought a new lease of life, you can also see that with how the lads have been playing.
“It is going to take time for his ideas to get across but I enjoyed the sessions I spent with him and the feeling I got is that the players are enjoying working with him.”
Though Klopp has publicly backed current No. 1 Simon Mignolet in recent weeks, the Belgian has endured widespread criticism for his shaky performances.
With Ward progressing in a similar fashion to Joe Hart at Birmingham City in 2009/10, it may not be long before Mignolet finds his position under real threat.
Part two of our end-of-year loan watch progress reports sees James Nalton detail Ward’s progress at Aberdeen, read more about the goalkeeper here.