"I hope [Marco] Rossi is not listening to this," Dominik Szoboszlai said with a smile when asked about having to play in a more defensive midfield position during Liverpool's first home game of the season. "Because he wants me to play as a number six," he added.
Now sitting down with Marco Rossi, it's the Hungarian international manager who smiles when I ask him about Szoboszlai's comments over the weekend.
"I know he said that he doesn't like too much to play in this position," Rossi tells Liverpool.com. "But I really think that in the future, he could be a fantastic number six. He has all the skills to be in this position, like [Andrea] Pirlo was, just to give an example. I think Pirlo was the best in this position in the last 15 years, and Dominik has really good skills to play in this position."
Sitting beside him, Rossi's assistant, Cosimo Inguscio interrupts and explains, in Italian, that Szoboszlai is no stranger to the number six role in the Hungarian national team, either.
"When we played against Italy in Cesena in the Nations League," Rossi translates, "In the last 20 minutes of the match, he played as a number six. So sometimes it could happen, when you want to add an extra forward on cycles.
"But of course, for us in the national team, it is much more important if he's able to play even more forward than he played in those previous matches. Because you would like him closer to the opponent's box, closer to the defensive line because he can be really dangerous there."
Szoboszlai's future as a number six remains to be decided. At least for now, he is expected to operate higher up the field, and had Moisés Caicedo been signed, it is likely that this would never have even been a conversation. But given Liverpool's lack of players in that position, Rossi's expert insight is something to digest.
The Italian has been in charge of the Hungarian national team for over five years, and it is under his guidance that the country has reached unprecedented heights beating the likes of England and Germany. It was also under him that Szoboszlai first emerged as a player in the senior national team.
Liverpool's new number eight made his debut under Rossi back in 2019 against Slovakia in a European Championship qualifier, and the Hungarian national team coach admits it has been special watching Szoboszlai reach the heights of the Premier League in the last four years.
"We have been watching him like all the players from a young age. It has been interesting to watch in which way our players [including him] have been moving from different clubs to the Premier League. Dominik has started really well with Liverpool, starting matches. Especially last weekend [against Bournemouth], I think he was the best player on the pitch."
For Rossi, who knows him well, Szoboszlai's immediate success at Anfield has not been a surprise.
"His approach is a dynamical approach. He is a player that is not only tactical, but he is a runner also. Dominik has the technical, physical skills and tactical skills all together at the same time. So with these characteristics, we didn't think that he would have too much time to understand the way of playing in the Premier League and to understand what the coach asks of him."
Above all, Rossi is quick to highlight the tactical intelligence of Szoboszlai. Capable of playing on either side for the national team, Liverpool fans have seen first-hand just how flexible the Hungarian can be, with Szoboszlai playing in a myriad of different positions since joining the club.
"It depends on the moments [which side suits him best]. Many times with the national team he chooses on which side he plays depending on the situation. Maybe we start with him on the left, then we move him on the right. Then talking between each other on the pitch, we decide to go there. The principles are the same.
"Sometimes on the bench, you cannot decide in every moment, that's why it's important to have leaders like him, who can decide what is more suitable for him in different moments of the match."
Those leadership qualities have been there from the beginning for Szoboszlai. As a youngster, he captained several youth national teams, and last year his leadership was recognized at senior level as well when, at just 22 years old, he was named the captain of the national team.
"The reason [to select him as captain] was because of his personality," Rossi explains. "Because of his natural leadership. And then of course the captain of the national team must be a role model as well.
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"I think this decision has also accelerated his process of growing up. He is much more responsible now and he is taking things in an even more serious way than before.
"We of course have other guys, other players that are absolutely close to his level, and of course, have great personalities. But this decision that we started, in the end, was taken by his teammates and it was absolutely a good decision."
As a player, Liverpool has so far only seen glimpses of Szoboszlai's quality. Even those glimpses have been exciting. Rossi, however, believes there is much more to come, especially when it comes to one of Szoboszlai's best asset.
"I think in England he will need to start shooting more, because I don't think that anybody can complain if Dominik shoots with his right or left foot. When he will decide to shoot, nobody can complain.
"He has many, many strengths. Of course, he had and still has some weaknesses, but he is working hard to reduce and improve. His best skill, for sure, is his shot.
"I've been in football for more than half a century, and I have to say that I don't remember more than five players in the last 50 years that have a shot like him or who are better than him."
There are multiple layers to the secrets behind Szoboszlai's shooting. One layer is his insatiate appetite to practice; another is genetics with Szoboszlai having (UK) size seven feet in spite of his tall frame, which allows him to strike the ball in a unique way. Rossi stresses the importance of both.
"He was born this way. I think with his right foot of course he is fantastic, but also with his left. Genetically, he has very important physical skills. Despite the fact that he is 1.87 meters, he is also quite fast and quick in the small spaces. So it's something strange and he must also be thankful to his father and his mother and God."
At Liverpool, Szoboszlai has taken on the responsibility of wearing the number eight shirt following in the footsteps of a club legend in Steven Gerrard.
"He's smart, he was educated to work hard. And he is a player because of his tactical and technical abilities who can make decisive moments happen. For example, against Iceland [when Szoboszlai scored a last-minute winning goal to qualify Hungary to Euro 2020], to be honest, he didn't play well.
"But we decided to keep him on the pitch just because a player like him could find a solution in every moment and this fortunately for us happened in that game."
That ability combined with the spurring of the Anfield crowd could create many memorable moments for Szoboszlai, and even emulate Gerrard himself, who also had the ability to take on decisive roles throughout his Liverpool career.
"When you play in front of a crowd like Liverpool, it's something special; the feelings are special. Dominik is a player who is self-motivated of course, but this is another input that he can now use.
"I hope he can take the early pages of Steven Gerrard's career, of course with different characteristics, but if he can gain the hearts of the Liverpool fans in the same way as Gerrard, he will do a fantastic job.
"Of course, he can still improve and learn from his teammates and his coach, but if he can avoid any physical problems, because in football injuries can happen all the time, I think we will hear his name many more times in the next few years."
Rossi also wants to emphasize the hard work Szoboszlai has taken to reach the heights he is playing in at the moment. The 22-year-old's story is notorious in Hungary having grown up in a strict and diligent environment where he worked relentlessly to learn his craft alongside his father, Zsolt.
"He made himself," Rossi says. "He worked hard on his qualities and he grew up in a nice environment with his father in which he understood the world and what it means to be professional at the top level.
"For this, he only has his father, mother and God to thank. He learned something, I think from everybody to get to where he is, from all his coaches, and learned some of his wisdom by himself, because he's smart. Dominik is here because of himself."