German tactician, Jurgen Klopp has already improved his top-four chasing Liverpool team… because the players have bought into the charismatic boss’ ideas. That was the message coming from inside the Reds’ dressing room after they delivered a clear statement of intent over the past week.
Not only did Klopp engineer a spectacular win at Chelsea to boost the club’s top-four prospects, but they then followed up with a thoroughly professional win in Kazan to put Liverpool on the verge of Europa League qualification. The German has enjoyed a six-game unbeaten run since arriving in England, and his players lined up on Friday to suggest it is no coincidence.
“He is very charismatic, an impressive bloke who you know, as soon as you meet him, has presence,” said midfielder Joe Allen.
“Since day one, everyone has taken on board his ideas straight away – you could see the players took to it immediately. I get the vibe that he can help me and help other players individually.
“What is really promising is that’s the message you’re getting from all the lads really – they think he can help them, and they’ve got a part to play and that will make for a successful season.”
It is easy to see the affection Klopp generates in his players when he hugs them on the final whistle, with Europa League match winner Jordon Ibe the recipient of the best moment in Kazan, as Klopp shouted ‘Ibeeeeeee’ when embracing him. That warmth and togetherness clearly goes both ways as Ibe admits being around the former Borussia Dortmund chief is a real learning experience .
“He’s a great manager, I’m delighted to be working with him – he’s showing me new things in training so I’m learning,” Ibe said.
“Hopefully I can keep getting the experience I need and he can develop me into a good player. Everybody’s doing well in training and we’re just delighted as a group to be doing well now.”
Klopp has implemented important changes on the training ground. A win over Crystal Palace on Sunday could move Liverpool onto the shoulders of the likes of Manchester United and the reason is simple – the Reds have much better defensive organisation.
Keeper Simon Mignolet, whose biggest fear in Russia was catching cold as he had nothing to do, appreciates the improved solidity in front of him.
“He has given the lads a lot of confidence and everyone knows what their job is– he is clear with his message,” the Belgium international said.
“Everyone is organised, everyone knows what they have to do and we don’t give anything away.”