20 questions with Alvaro Arbeloa

How is Alvaro settling into English football? What music does he like? Who was his boyhood idol? Why did his squad number change? Find out these answers and more as he takes time out to answer questions posed by Liverpool fans via the club website.

How is your English coming along?

It's better than it was last season but I have a long way to go. I don't have that much confidence speaking in English yet, even though I'm having more lessons this season than I was last year. I have to keep learning and keep doing my best though because at Melwood you have to speak English. Rafa is always on at me to 'speak English', 'speak English'!

Who are your best friends at the club?

I have a lot of friends at Anfield but am probably closest to Mascherano, Benayoun and Paletta, even though he's gone now. Sometimes we get together away from football, but it's far more traditional to go out with teammates in Spain than it is over here.

Who is the funniest player in the dressing room?

That's easy – Jermaine Pennant. He is always making jokes or singing or dancing.

Why have you changed your squad number from 2 to 17?

Because 17 has always been my number. It was the number I wore when I was captain of Castilla and also when I was at Depor. When I came to Liverpool Craig Bellamy wore that shirt so I couldn't have it, so when he left I asked if I could switch numbers and thankfully it was possible.

What music do you like?

I like Latino music mostly, like Shakira. Now that I'm in Liverpool I have to say I quite like the Beatles, but my dad is a much bigger fan of them than me.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?

A lot of people have helped me to get where I am today. I owe a lot to my parents and my two brothers as well as my girlfriend. The most important thing in anybody's life is always their family. It's quite difficult for my family having me in another country but they are happy that I am doing well at a big club like Liverpool.

What are Liverpool's chances of winning the league this year?

I think we have a good chance but it's going to be very difficult. We have a good team and a big squad so we can definitely compete with the other sides. At the moment we are just taking things game to game and if we're still in with a chance with five or ten games to go then we might be able to start talking about winning the Premier League.

How comfortable have you felt playing at left back for the team?

I feel good in that position and think that I'm playing better with each game. I'd only ever played there for a couple of games so I'm having to learn quickly. I played in Spain at centre back but my favourite position is at right back. Just getting into the Liverpool team is a big enough challenge so I don't mind where the boss asks me to play.

How pleased were you with your performance against Lionel Messi at Barcelona last season?

It was very difficult because Messi is a big player in their team and it was obviously going to be hard to play against him, especially in an unfamiliar position in my first game for the club. I was very happy with the way the whole night went. I was pleased with my performance and of course the result was fantastic for everyone at the club.

Do you have any pre-match superstitions?

Not really. I probably do the same things before every game but it's nothing to do with superstition, it's more a habit.

Do you understand Scousers yet?

Not at all. I haven't a clue what people are saying some of the time. It's very difficult to understand some of the players, particularly Stevie and Carra. I'm sure it'll get easier for me in time, but it is a big struggle at the moment.

What do you do when you're not playing football?

I enjoy spending time with my girlfriend. Sometimes I will play on my PlayStation 3 as well. In Spain it was always good fun to play 'Paddle' – a game which is a mixture of tennis, squash and racquet-ball. It's not so well known over here.

How have you found adapting to the Premier League and how does the football here compare to La Liga?

It's very different in many ways. The Premier League is much more physical and the referee doesn't seem to give as many fouls as in Spain. I think I have settled in well considering I've only been here for a short time. The more I play the better I will become.

What do you miss most about life in Spain and what is the best thing about living in England?

Obviously I miss my family. I'm sure they are pleased for me that I am doing well in this country but it can be tough being away from them. Also over here places close much earlier than they do in Spain which can take a bit of getting used to. I am enjoying living in England though, especially as the football side is going well.

How did you feel when you heard Rafa wanted to sign you?

I was very surprised but very happy. It was always very important for me at some stage in my career to play for one of the biggest clubs and have the chance to play Champions League football. I've always liked English football and when Rafa arrived here there was a big interest in Liverpool from Spain and so naturally they were a club we all kept an eye on. From my point of view, it was an honour to be asked to come here.

Who will be the most influential player for the team this year?

Steven Gerrard because he is our best player. He was a player I always knew about because he is such a big name, but it's only when you work with him every day in training that you see how good he really is.

Have you always been a defender?

Yes, always. When I was much younger - maybe eight or nine years of age - I had a go as a striker but I was always much better at the back.

Who was your idol when you were growing up?

Zinedine Zidane, simply because he's one of the best players to ever play the game. He was a joy to watch. I don't quite have his skills myself, but that doesn't mean you can't appreciate someone of such talent.

Which three words best describe Liverpool FC?

Supporters, Anfield and history are the three which first come into my mind. The fans are the best and when they sing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' it's an amazing sound. The stadium is incredible because the supporters are able to create such a great atmosphere and, of course, the history and tradition of the club speaks for itself.

How keen are you to play for Spain?

Everyone wants to play for their country and I'm no different. I'd like it to happen one day, but whether it does or not I don't know.

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