Liverpool’s charge for the Premier League title is driven by the character and charisma of Jurgen Klopp, the Sunday Supplement panel believe.
The Reds set a new European points record as they beat Tottenham 1-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday thanks to a first-half strike from Roberto Firmino.
Ahead of Manchester City facing Aston Villa on Renault Super Sunday, Liverpool sit 16 points clear at the Premier League summit having accumulated 61 points from 21 matches – the best start to a campaign of any team in the history of Europe’s top five leagues.
Featuring in Neil Ashton’s final show after seven years as presenter, the Sunday Supplement panel – including Daily Mail football editor Ian Ladyman, Daily Mirror chief sports writer Andy Dunn, and Sunday Times football correspondent Jonathan Northcroft – hailed the imprint and identity of Jurgen Klopp on his record-breaking Liverpool side.
“You can’t underestimate the impact that Klopp has had,” Dunn said.
Liverpool vs Man Utd
January 19, 2020, 4:00pm
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“He gets everything right. He just gets it all and gets the club. He clearly lifts those players to a level that maybe some of them didn’t think they could reach.
“He’s an incredibly inspirational manager and his role cannot be underestimated.
“Without namedropping, we had a dinner in the north recently. After three hours there I wanted to run through brick walls for the guy. He captured the whole table, fellow managers were hanging on his every word, he was full of energy and enthusiasm.
“When managers normally come to these functions it’s ‘when can we get away?’ and the engine is still running in the car outside.
“You can see why the players love him.”
Top scorersHow Spurs and Liverpool lined up
Ladyman pointed to the strength of culture and spirit that Klopp has instilled on and off the pitch.
He said: “When you have a squad like Liverpool, what it forces you as a coach to do is make sure the atmosphere in the club, at the training ground and in the dressing room, is spot on.
“That points to what Andy’s talking about – Klopp’s personality, his ability to be a figure of authority but also a figure players can confide in.
“That’s why players in and around the edges of the team – Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Xherdan Shaqiri – you don’t hear them moaning. You never hear them suggesting they want to go somewhere else to play.
“He’s got something there when players like that who obviously think it’s better to play 20 games for Liverpool rather than 50 somewhere else.”