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Dudek: "He’s Different to Other Managers"

Liverpool's former goalkeeper talked up the qualities of Jürgen Klopp.

Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images

Łukasz Piszczek, Jakub Blaszczykowski and the lethal Robert Lewandowski are all players who have developed under the guidance of Jürgen Klopp. The time they spent together at Borussia Dortmund brought thrilling moments, trophies, and wonderful football. In fact, there were numerous young players who grew to be solid campaigners or superstars in a black and yellow kit that it's difficult to know where to start!

For one former Liverpool goalkeeper, however, Klopp's contributions will be on display at Euro 2016 at a potential surprise package to watch out for: Poland. Jerzy Dudek and his heroics in the 2005 Champions League final against AC Milan have secured his place in Liverpool's history. Then there was his determined and cheerful personality, which often contrasted sharply with his inconsistency in goal.

When he had to move on after Rafa Benìtez secured an upgrade in the form of Pepe Reina, many fans were sad to see him go. Now Dudek eagerly awaits what will transpire over the summer. How far will Poland go in Euro 2016? How will Klopp reshape Liverpool's squad over the summer? The man with 60 Polish caps to his name had plenty to say.

"He had a major impact on those players," Dudek told the Liverpool Echo. "I don’t know if you remember but Lewandowski in his first one-and-a-half years at Dortmund, well he did not play so well. He didn’t score so many goals, and he played a bit deeper to start with. He certainly wasn’t at the level we are seeing now. It was the same with Kuba (Błaszczykowski) as well. But what Klopp did was he worked with those guys a lot, he gave them confidence and you could see the progress that they made at that club."

"Klopp is patient. He doesn’t put pressure on players, he supports them and talks to them. He did exactly that with Lewandowski. He waited, he was patient and in the end it all clicked in spectacular fashion. Sometimes it can be the difference between one word. A positive word can change things and so can a negative one. It comes down to the trust between a coach and his player. With the Polish players at Dortmund, they trusted Klopp and he trusted them. And look at the progress they made."

It will be fascinating to see which players will develop like the Polish stars did under Klopp. Dudek is clearly a huge fan of the German and what he represents, and the 42-year-old went on to draw parallels between Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool in building "something new" and bringing success. Central to any potential restoration or revival is the manager's way of working, something that Dudek appears to have great confidence in.

"He’s different to other managers," Dudek says. "Most managers who take over a club in October would say ‘I need new players’ or ‘I need £100m to spend,’ but Klopp didn’t do that. He knows it is easy to waste money, but he also wants to give the current players a chance. At the end of the season, he will make his decisions and for sure he will bring new players in. It will be an interesting time.

"We need success, that’s clear. Everybody in the city wants success. But if you ask me, we need three good players at least. We need a spine. It is much easier to build around a spine, and let’s hope that something can happen in that regard this summer. Everyone is talking about him – they are criticising players, but they believe that the manager can change things. I do too."

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