Jurgen Klopp’s ‘heavy metal football’ has made a major impact at Liverpool, as he took a team that had been wandering around for years and turned them back into a perennial contender.
The Reds have been struggling year after year to stay relevant and Klopp turned their whole perspective around, up to the point where they made it to back-to-back UEFA Champions League finals, winning one of them.
However, the German coach believes the most important part of his work hasn’t been on the pitch but outside of it, as he claims he’s turned the team into ‘F$cking mentality giants’:
“Look, if a player has no talent in football, I can’t make him a great player,” Klopp says. “But in terms of mentality, I think human beings have it. I think it is in them. The explanation for me is this. How long can I hang on the edge of a mountain with one finger, when I will only save my own life? I have no clue, maybe 10 seconds, maybe a little longer?
But if, on the other hand, I have my little boy, and I have to save him, I could hang there for three days – in my imagination, anyway. I’d do it for him, not for myself. The more you realize the different things you do for different people, how valuable it is, the easier it is to go over your limit. These boys have that talent. They would hang on the mountain edge for four years for each other, I have no doubt!” he told Goal in an interview.
When asked about the way he put together his squad and how he helped them embrace that winning mentality, Klopp was humbled to admit that it wasn’t a huge secret at all:
“Of course, you can learn about mentality. We are not ‘mentality giants’ when we are born. Nobody is. Life makes us what we are. In this case, football and bad experiences can help us a lot. You lose a game and it’s not so nice, but if you use it, it can make sense. If you don’t use it, it’s useless,” he added.
The Reds have come a long way since Klopp first took charge of the team and even if they haven’t been the biggest spenders in the world, they’ve known how to make the most of their assets and investments despite the skepticism from the media and some supporters:
“When I came in, I said that nobody likes this team, not even the team! That was the truth, but that’s completely different now. It’s development, it’s time, patience that you give the boys.” “And it’s bringing quality in as well. We had only two signings where we thought ‘Right, they absolutely have to be a slam dunk. That was Ali (Alisson Becker) and Virg (Virgil van Dijk). The others, they had to develop.
They were still kind of projects, where we had to see if they could do it in the Premier League if they could do it consistently, all that stuff. Gini Wijnaldum and Andy Robertson, for example, they were relegated and they came to Liverpool. They were easy picks for us, but they were not obvious picks from the outside. We had to work with these players, all of them,” he concluded.
Klopp and his team lost the first trophy of the year at the hands of Manchester City, but they’ll focus all of their attention on finally putting an end to their domestic trophy drought and win the Premier League for the first time in club history.