Liverpool run more than any other other Premier League side. They run more in games, and more in pre-season, and, well, they just run more. It’s kind of Jürgen Klopp’s thing, and it’s a thing that has led to a few Liverpool players emerging as somewhat unexpected stars while others have rather faded since his arrival.
Top of the stars list is Adam Lallana, who on a team that runs more than anyone else runs more than anyone else on the team. One might say that, to Klopp, Lallana is his Dirk Kuyt. He is the embodiment of Klopp’s tactical will on the pitch in the same way the ever-running Kuyt was for former manager Rafa Benitez.
Which perhaps begs the question, just what does Kuyt think of what Klopp’s doing at Liverpool? And does the former Liverpool man whose industry made him into a cult hero for the red half of Merseyside think he’d enjoy competing with the likes of Lallana for the title of hardest worker in the current Liverpool squad?
“Judging from a distance, I think I would, yes,” Kuyt told FourFourTwo magazine when asked about whether he might have enjoyed working under Klopp. “I don’t really know him, of course, and I don’t know how he trains, but from everything I’ve seen, I think he’s a manager I would’ve liked to play for.”
In all likelihood, of course, that chance has passed, with Kuyt now 36 years old and playing for Feyenoord. Yet it isn’t entirely clear a squad role would be entirely beyond him—Kuyt was named the Eredivisie’s player of the year last season and has nine goals and five assists in 23 appearances for Feyenoord in 2016-17.
He might not be able to run as hard as he did in his days at Liverpool under Benitez, but Kuyt doesn’t look like a player interested in slowing down and hanging up his boots, and unlike former teammate Steven Gerrard—who Kuyt calls the best he ever played with—Kuyt plans to keep playing for at least another year.
“He’s the best player that I have ever played with,” Kuyt noted of his former teammate. “He had everything: speed, an incredible shot, but he was also someone who kept going for the 90 minutes and did not shy away from challenges. He was a born leader, in his own way.
“He was so versatile and it was fantastic to play in a team with him. I had a good bond with him. We played together for six years and have remained in contact ever since.”