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Friday 9 December 2016

Klopp: It's true love

Liverpool boss says reason he signed a new deal is because Reds are a club with 'special emotions'

Jurgen Klopp salutes travelling fans. Photo: Arnd Wiegmann
Jurgen Klopp salutes travelling fans. Photo: Arnd Wiegmann

Jurgen Klopp has claimed that if players knew what was happening at Liverpool they would beat a path to his door.

The Reds boss was speaking in a wide-ranging interview with German publication Die Welt which covered everything from his new contract, transfers and the European Championships to the EU Referendum and the future of German football.

While some of Klopp's now legendary phrasing loses a little in translation, there's plenty of interesting views on the topics covered.

Asked about Liverpool's rivals such as the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea investing heavily in new stars and with new coaches in José Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte, Klopp spoke of Liverpool offering something different.

He said: "Yes, they (rivals) are not known to go shopping at Aldi. As is already a little (clear from) what will happen in the market. Nevertheless, it is my understanding of football that anyone can be beaten. Therefore, we will see our chance.

Jurgen Klopp insists players would beat a path to his door if they knew the progress being made behind the scenes at Liverpool. Photo: Getty Images
Jurgen Klopp insists players would beat a path to his door if they knew the progress being made behind the scenes at Liverpool. Photo: Getty Images

"Liverpool is a very special club with a very special emotion that makes us different from most other clubs."

The Reds boss said his club's niche was "passion" and said the club did not wait around long for players who did not show a desire to come to Anfield.

"We do not look at the price tag and say 'from 50 million is good'. We look at who we can use and who really wants to help us. If we find the players do not want to really - then we also do not fight long.

"...For a good player there are two options: either go to the currently most successful club and then ride the wave. Or you go to a really big club like Liverpool and say: 'This I do now something very special'.

"If the players know what is happening here...they would beat a path to our door. Anyone who has played four good games here, may live long eat free here. The city is completely insane in dealing with their former players."

Asked if his new contract meant his relationship with Liverpool was "true love", he was unequivocal: "Obviously."

He added: "They (the owners) approached me, I was a little surprised. Then I asked myself: 'What do I want, where would I want more out of my life'? The answer was clear: Preferably I would be where I am. "Also, I've noticed over the years that I am the opposite of a firefighter. I like to develop things, I like it, to improve the structures - ideally by consensus. And that's pretty much exactly what Liverpool needs. So we have come together."

In terms of the club ownership, Klopp said there was no problem that Fenway Sports Group were based in Boston rather than close to hand like the situations he had in Dortmund and Mainz, joking: "It extends my working day, if only because of the time difference. If Mike Gordon, president of FSG, is awake, I am with my work normally (laughs) already through."

The Liverpool manager feels like heros are better remembered in England than back home in Germany, speaking about his club's pre-season trip to Tranmere and asking goalkeeping coach John Achterberg about the statue outside Prenton Park.

"The English actually never forget such legends. I'm not sure if many BVB fans still know who was the coach of the first European Cup Winners' Cup victory in 1966? (Willi "Fischken" Multhaup). Many certainly no longer know. I have not exactly seen many Multhaup monuments in Dortmund.

Football fans lay floral tributes and scarves at the foot of the Johnny King statue outside Tranmere Rovers' ground Prenton Park.

Tributes

"We played a friendly match in Tranmere with Liverpool a few days ago, who are now in the fifth division. When we pulled up at the stadium, I see a huge statue. I asked: 'Who is this'? Our goalkeeping coach, who has previously played for Tranmere, told me: 'This is John King, a former coach who saved the club from relegation many times'. I thought: 'That's cool', when a coach has a monument because he prevented the descent."

Klopp said he did not believe Liverpool's rivals are that far away but admitted the Premier League was a place of brutal competition.

Asked about competing with the league's best, he said: "That will be difficult, but it is not that these teams are unreachable far away. There is no league in which it is so hard to finish in the top four. In Spain...five teams, in Germany there are about seven. There are many more. That's brutal. In the Premier League there is a completely different cut-throat competition."

Klopp said he felt totally comfortable in Liverpool but the 49-year-old again spoke of his plan not to work for too many years more.

"What I know: It's extremely unlikely that I will win a Champions League in my mid-60s. Because then I will not sit with very, very high probability in the dugout. Then, the next generation will be at the train already," he said.

"I give here and now full throttle, but I will not work for another 20 years as manager.

"And I do not intend to change the league and the country five or six times."

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