Steven Gerrard has labelled Jurgen Klopp as the ‘best manager in the world’ and believes Liverpool should already be looking to honour the German with a statue.
Liverpool currently sit on the brink of a first league title in three decades ahead of the Premier League’s restart tomorrow, an elusive 19th championship set to follow last season’s Champions League success.
The Merseyside club have continued to go from strength to strength under the guidance of the charismatic Klopp, and former Reds’ captain Gerrard admits he can’t wait to see his boyhood side finally lift a long-awaited title despite his own well-documented near misses.
“You don’t want to count your chickens until it’s certain but I think we all know that it’s inevitable,” Gerrard told The Athletic. “For me, there will be a lot of relief. Being a fan for a lot of those years and being a player and coming ever so close, you know that this is the one that people have craved.
“This is the bread and butter of the club. I grew up watching all the successful Liverpool teams winning leagues. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do it myself.
“I’m a fan now and I always will be until the day I go into a grave. When they get it done and they lift that trophy, it will be 100 per cent happiness for me. I can’t wait for it. I’ll be the proudest man on the planet.”
Jurgen Klopp turns 53 today. He is weeks away from delivering that all elusive Premier League title after 30 long years. He has transformed the club, no longer a stepping stone to a bigger move, Liverpool is now a final destination for the world's best! pic.twitter.com/8apB9Q5jdl
— DaveOCKOP (@DaveOCKOP) June 16, 2020
Gerrard spoke further of his admiration for Klopp and believes the former Borussia Dortmund boss is the best manager on the planet at present, admitting he has ‘nothing but respect’ for the 53-year-old who he says has taken Liverpool to ‘the next level’.
“Let’s cut to the chase, sitting here, doing this interview right now, I think Jurgen Klopp is the best manager in the world,” Gerrard added. “I know there are a lot of successful managers about. Pep Guardiola is exceptional. Carlo Ancelotti is exceptional too and I think Everton are really lucky to have him with his CV. I could name many more.
“Having had the experience of being a manager for the past two years, you realise how difficult and challenging the job is. I have nothing but respect for Jurgen.
“The way the man handles himself, the way he’s been with myself, the way he goes about his business, the way he comes across. I think he’s got a heart and I think he’s got a head. He just works for Liverpool. He has come and taken the club to the next level.”
Klopp’s successes since arriving in English football have seen the current Reds’ boss being discussed as one the most iconic figures in the club’s prestigious history, the league title set to follow Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup success in 2019.
Whilst Gerrard conceded that the ‘humble’ Klopp wouldn’t want to be spoken of in such glowing terms, he believes his former side should already be making plans to permanently honour the German’s achievements.
“Knowing Jurgen, he won’t want to be put in that bracket,” he added. “I know what he’s like, he’s humble and respectful. When you look at the scale of the job he’s done, for sure he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as those iconic managers.
Happy 53rd birthday, Jurgen Klopp 🎈
The man who made Liverpool great again 🔴pic.twitter.com/Ugp9xO1xHk
— Goal (@goal) June 16, 2020
“What you need to take into consideration is that when Jurgen took over Liverpool they weren’t close to being the best team in the country, they weren’t even in the top four.
“To come to Liverpool when he did, get to the amount of finals that he has, deliver the sixth European Cup and then deliver the first league title after 30 years…
“For me, someone like Jurgen should be rewarded now. It seems like in football we often wait until people get older before their achievements are fully recognised.
“But I know the owners of Liverpool won’t let that happen. When Jurgen delivers the league they should already be starting work on a statue of him.”