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Monday, 24 December, 2001, 15:40 GMT
Anelka makes his mark
Milan Baros and Nicolas Anelka are paraded at Anfield
Liverpool's new strikers faced the cameras on Monday
Liverpool's controversial new boy Nicolas Anelka made a clear statement of his intent on arriving at Anfield by taking Robbie Fowler's number.

Anelka, who signed from Paris St Germain on loan at the weekend, wore a shirt with a red number nine on the back at his unveiling alongside 3.5m Czech youngster Milan Baros on Monday.

Both strikers go straight into Liverpool's squad for the Boxing Day game at Aston Villa, a match the Reds dare not lose after demoralising defeats by Chelsea and Arsenal.


The main attraction was the trophies that Liverpool won last season and their past achievements impressed me
Nicolas Anelka

Anelka won the double with Arsenal before his turbulent exit from Highbury and even more troubled spells at Real Madrid and PSG.

But the 22-year-old French ace aims to make a fresh start and said he is hoping to make the move to Anfield permanent.

"At the moment I am only here on loan, but I am very interested in staying here," he said.

"There have been problems in the past, but it was Gerard Houllier who persuaded me to come back to England - it helps that he is French.

"But the main attraction was the trophies that Liverpool won last season and their past achievements impressed me.

"Gerard Houllier has told me that Liverpool are a very good team, and I already realised that."

Nicolas Anelka will wear Robbie Fowler's number nine shirt
Can Anelka follow Fowler's goalscoring footsteps?

Anelka has been brought in to plug the gap left by Fowler's 11m move to Leeds and assistant boss Phil Thompson revealed he would be given the former Kop idol's shirt number.

Despite the Frenchman's past troubles, Thompson had no second thoughts about signing Anelka.

He said: "I believe he can put behind him his problems. Everyone needs a fresh start and this will clear his head and he will get down to doing what he does best - playing football.

"He'll love it here. We have French-speaking lads and they all get on very well.

"Gerard insists on that and we have shown what a great mix and camaraderie we have here."

Baros is a good prospect for the future
Baros will fulfil Premiership dream

Before his move from Arsenal, Anelka was quoted as saying he disliked England and the English game but now says it was not like that.

"When I left Arsenal I never said I didn't like England, my problems were only of my own making in my head."

Baros said he had always dreamed of playing in the Premiership.

"I have always been interested in English football and it was always an ambition to play here, and now I have achieved my ambition.

"I feel very confident about playing for Liverpool. It is up to me now to prove that I can be a Liverpool player and achieve my best with Liverpool."

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Liverpool caretaker boss Phil Thompson
"Nicolas and Milan will be in the squad for the Villa game"
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