Jurgen Klopp’s time at Liverpool is not just about winning trophies – despite the joy last night’s Premier League title win will bring to the city. He is looking to create something, leave a legacy as previous managers at the club did.
He has a philosophy which players buy into, convincing the current squad they are good enough to win the league, which they’ve now done.
And any new player coming into that Liverpool dressing room – be that a new signing or a lad from the academy – has to buy into that, and match the standards that are already there.
Klopp’s not just building a winning team, he’s building a successful club as it’s all created around his beliefs.
People have doubted the ‘cult of the manager’ in football today but, to me, all of Liverpool’s success is down to Klopp.
That club has had good managers before, they have spent big money before, and not had the success. But he seems to be the one who has managed to get the best, the very best, out of everyone at the club.
Klopp strikes me as the kind of person you’d want to be around, and I think the players buzz off him, as the Liverpool fans do.
I know he’s German but I see something of the Irish culture in Klopp. He’s very open as a person, he seems to like a beer, he gets on with people.
It might be a cliché but a lot of the managers from the Latin culture – Spanish or Italian – who come to the Premier League don’t get that, they have been brought up a different way.
They have a way of behaving and thinking that comes from their own culture.
But Klopp’s philosophy seems more suited to the English game.
People seem to get extra energy from being around him. He sends his teams out to win every game and that’s infectious for the players and the supporters.
I know of so many managers who have a real fear of losing a game but Klopp doesn’t have that. He aims to win every time.
It could be argued that it’s easy to do that when you have great players, but a good squad is not always enough – you need a guiding principle from a manager.
And, to me, the team reflects his personality. Just look at his TV interviews, he’s full of chat, of personality, not like a lot of other managers. He is very quotable for the media but he’s also honest in what he says – and players appreciate that.
He places high demands on his players, both mentally and physically – and for the last three years his players have lived up to those high demands.
In the last three years a lot of coaches have tried to follow what Pep Guardiola has done with his style of football, to be more possession-based, play intricate football.
Liverpool aren’t like that. They do play some really good football but they are also very direct, always looking to get forward, every pass seems to be a penetrating pass.
I saw that in Wednesday’s game against Crystal Palace. One of the Palace players was on the ball, he had four Liverpool players kicking at his ankles, getting stuck into him to win the ball back... and this at a stage when they were 2-0 up.
They hounded that Palace player, Fabinho got the ball and scored that brilliant goal. That’s the mark of this Liverpool side.
It’s not enough to have great players – you need a manager to coax the best from them.
The Liverpool squad now is as good as it has been for a long, long time, but the key – and the sign of Klopp’s greatness – is to keep them performing consistently for so long.
Not every player in that squad has the personality where they can perform at 100pc all the time, but Klopp is the one who is making them do that.
And now they are all reaping the rewards with the success they are having. That drive in a team has to come from somewhere – and that comes from Klopp in this Liverpool side.
His enthusiasm is infectious. If he was my manager, I know I’d want to go out and play for him. You’d be desperate to stay and be part of that team.
Players also know that other players will want to be part of that into the future, and they have to fight hard to stay at the club. They know they need to be at their maximum every day in training, in every minute of every game.
They have won in Europe, the Premier League is the one thing that club has been craving, and it’s Klopp who has taken them to where they are now. He has increased the intensity in the Premier League. Players adopt that into their game.
Someone like Jordan Henderson is good technically but one of his strengths is his energy, and Klopp has turned him into a leader.
Klopp had a style which suited the Premier League from day one and it’s to his credit that he has combined energy with quality too.
Klopp’s teams are brilliant to watch, it’s a mixture of really good football and high-intensity pressing. It’s a mix that’s hard to get right but Klopp has done it – and he is the reason why the club is where it is today.