Not banging any drums!

Bjorn Tore Kvarme celebrates a year at Anfield this month, but you won't find him banging any drums.

The quietly-spoken Norwegian simply goes about his business in a low-profile way, just as he does on the pitch. No frills, no fuss.

Since his move from Rosenborg, Kvarme has not only established himself in the Liverpool team, he has also earned international recognition. Not a bad return for a player who didn't cost a penny.

Kvarme’s assessment of his first year at Anfield

"It's been a very good year for me. When I came over I didn't think I would be playing as quickly as I did. I was lucky to get my chance because it came about because of injuries and suspensions."

Bjorn, however, has made the most of it, where his speed, tenacious tackling and man-marking skills have elevated him from obscurity to become a name in every Premiership-following household.

Good though Norwegian players are, there is no doubt that the English championship offers a higher standard, where Scandinavians often thrive. Being asked if he has improved since joining the Reds is something to which Kvarme is well used.

He said: "That's very difficult to answer. Norwegian journalists ask me that question all the time! I don't think I've become a much better player. It's hard to say if I'm better at this or that. I don't know."

Okay, then, so what does Bjorn make of English football and how does he think Liverpool have fared over the past 12 months?

"I knew English football from the telly," he said. "I knew it was a quick game over here, but maybe it's even quicker than I thought. It's very physical as well. When I came, I think we were top of the league and we had a good chance of winning it. But we fell away towards the end of the season. We should at least have finished second.

"This season, we bought some more new players and people thought we would be at the top again. The season hasn't kicked off as well as we would have hoped, but we have been doing well in the last few games and hopefully that will continue."

Kvarme is a good, honest professional who, like his compatriots, loves to train on his day off. He has also been weaned on a four-man defensive system, which the Reds now use, having deployed a three-man rearguard last term.

Bjorn said: "At first I thought a back-four would be better for me because I'd always played in that system. But I enjoyed a back three last season."

But, honest as he is, Kvarme ackowledges that it hasn't all been rosy with the Reds. Mistakes in high-profile games against Everton and Manchester United were both costly and highlighted.

Had they occurred against lesser opponents...

"You should never make mistakes, but they were probably the worst games to do them in. Afterwards it's very hard because you have felt you have let your team-mates down, and the crowd."

Getting on with it means putting it behind him and endeavouring to succeed with Liverpool. As for World Cup selection, Bjorn isn't even giving it thought.

He said: "I've only played one game for Norway. Of course, it was good to get a chance, but I don't know if I'll get any more chances because there are a lot of good Norwegian players in England, in other countries, and there are still some in Norway."

Kvarme achieved a lot in 1997, and there is no doubting his wish for this year. "To win something with Liverpool," he said.

Like the FA Cup, perhaps?

"Yes, the FA Cup appeals, but tomorrow's game against Coventry is hard. Anything will do."

Press report from 02.01.1998.

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