From Mainz 05 to Borussia Dortmund and now Liverpool, Jürgen Klopp has been focused on a singular managerial philosophy centered on keeping and regaining position of a football. He’s been reasonably successful.
Throughout his coaching career, Klopp has also built a reputation as both a difficult opponent and a terrific manager of players. Liverpool hiring him in 2016 immediately gave the club clout in the transfer market because talented players want to work with him.
Part of Klopp’s magic comes from his tactical mind and passion for winning but there’s more to his influence on his teams than pure drive and white boards.
“My players aren’t my sons but my sons are now turning 35 and 32, and that’s pretty much exactly the same,” said Klopp.
“There are moments when you are a father, there are moments when you are a friend, there are moments when you have to criticise them. These things are always exactly the same. I always did that with my players as well.
“We can have a really close relationship and the closer relationship you get, the more you have to tell the truth to the boys because they judge you on that. I explained it once and said I really want to be the friend of my players but I cannot be their best friend. That’s how it is.
“A friend has to tell you the truth, a friend has to tell you what you can do better, a friend has to – and will – always tell you what is right and what is wrong. That’s exactly what I do, but never in a manner that they cannot get up next morning.
“It’s always the same reason: I want to help them. I have no other job. My job is to help the boys to be the best player they can be, and there are a few things to do.”
It’s been pure joy living through the Klopp era, watching him cultivate and develop a winning team committed to unity and togetherness. It’s clear there’s something special about the German’s methods that motivates players and urges them to improve. While there are surely other talented managers in the world with similar approaches to life and football, Jürgen is the obviously the best one.