Paul Parker has heaped praised on Jurgen Klopp’s impact upon Liverpool, and believes he is showing Manchester United what they could have won.
Jurgen Klopp has always managed a team that was an underdog during his time at Mainz 05 then Borussia Dortmund in Germany, but now he is managing one with high expectations and a history. A winning history.
All he has to do at Liverpool is get across his mentality of winning two Bundesligas with Dortmund during his time in Merseyside, and he will be real success because he is at a club that expects to win trophies.
He must express to his players how to win so they know what to do when the chance comes up, but they are playing with a real swagger.
Klopp had to bring a winning mentality to Dortmund, and he is bringing a similar approach to Liverpool.
It will never be admitted, but Manchester United must look at Klopp and imagine what if? What if they had Klopp now? It is a source of frustration.
Liverpool are scoring goals for fun. Obviously, Philippe Coutinho is going to be a huge miss, but there is always a chance you are going to lose big players.
‘An admirable realist’
Klopp has been a realist about the injury to Coutinho, and that is admirable.
The biggest thing he has done in my opinion is be a very good man manager. He’s saying to his squad and the public we’re not about one player, and that delivers the message to the team that he has got faith in them.
By saying we’re not going to miss Coutinho, he is telling Liverpool’s players they are good enough to do the job in challenging for the Premier League.
He’s a brilliant man manager, and he’s bringing a bit of the style of Sir Alex Ferguson to the club in having a real unity and purpose. You can see it, and sense it.
When you are deemed to be a big club in the country, I don’t think you can have any excuses. Klopp doesn’t use excuses, he’ll just get on with it. Unlike Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.
‘Modern football management is about managing men’
Mourinho has won a lot more than Klopp in his career at Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid, but the difference is Klopp knows how to properly manage men. Which is a skill in itself.
He has learnt as he has gone on because he is a young new manager.
Mourinho is not an old manager, but he’s been around longer and he suddenly has to change to become successful at United. The old ways will no longer do.
He has to adapt to a new style of player. He should really know better from the people he worked under Barcelona such as Sir Bobby Robson.
Thomas Tuchel, the new coach at Dortmund, is still using that Klopp mentality to good effect.
That is why he is respected in Germany. He hasn’t suddenly started saying “I’ll do it my way’.
He’s discovered a slightly different rhythm in the engine at Dortmund just like Klopp has found at Liverpool. Look at what Klopp has done with James Milner, who suddenly looks like a full-back.
I thought he was going to be a weakness, but he seems to be getting better and better.
Klopp is not reliant on one player. Roberto Firmino can come in and play a certain kind of role.
Klopp knows he can get by without Coutinho which is admirable. The cherry on the top of the cake is injured at the moment, but he knows there is enough there for Liverpool to continue winning games.
‘Woodburn cameo a boost to kid and club’
At the age of 17, Ben Woodburn becoming Liverpool’s youngest scorer in the 2-0 win over Leeds in the League Cup last eight creates a feel-good factor. Bringing in a young player lifts the squad because they welcome the message it sends out, a bit like Fergie giving youth a chance at United.
You look at him on the touchline, and how he controls himself. A lot of managers don’t really like what Klopp and the Chelsea manager Antonio Conte have brought to the Premier League because they are a bit envious.
It is a change in man management skills. The players are not complaining. I don’t hear a lot of stories about Liverpool or Chelsea players being unhappy because they’ve bought into what those managers are trying to do.
Win, lose or draw, Klopp is out there after the match with his players on the field. He’s with the referees and opposing players. It is 90 minutes plus added time then it is over.
Liverpool might be outsiders to win the Premier League behind Manchester City, but they have a real chance to challenge. And that is all down to Klopp’s refreshing mentality. United and Mourinho should take note.