Ian Rush believes the current Liverpool side are comparable to any of the club’s greatest teams and has lavished praise on Jurgen Klopp’s ‘incredible’ league leaders.
After being crowned champions of Europe with Champions League success last season, Liverpool have enjoyed a record-breaking start to the current Premier League campaign to close to within six points of a first league title in three decades prior to the suspension of football amid the coronavirus crisis.
The UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup were also added to the trophy cabinet earlier in the campaign and Rush – who won five league titles and two European Cups as part of an all-conquering Liverpool side – believes the current outfit can be compared to any of the great Anfield teams of the past.
“They are right up there, but you ask me what players now would get into our team and it would still be difficult because we had so many great players,” Rush told The Mirror at the launch of The Football Pools #ForTheNurses campaign, supporting nurses impacted by COVID-19.
“Look at last season, they got 96 points and didn’t win the league so they have upped their game again.
“To not win the league, Jurgen Klopp had to say, ‘we’ve got to do even better.’ They have done. They’ve been absolutely incredible.”
Rush also discussed the secrets behind the success of the Reds’ teams he played an influential part in, winning a treble of trophies back in 1984 before completing a domestic double two seasons later.
The club’s all-time record goalscorer insists ‘tremendous team spirit’ played a huge part in the club’s ability to continue winning major honours, and believes there are similarities with Jurgen Klopp’s side as the entire squad pull in the same direction.
🗣"Players don't want a nice guy in the manager's office they want someone who helps them"
Jurgen Klopp on what makes a good manager pic.twitter.com/1No4k2LFcR
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) April 22, 2020
“I look at the teams I played in and we got by because of a tremendous team spirit,” said Rush. “It’s in the dressing room and every morning when they go in, the spirit seems so good. That’s what we had as well.
“It’s difficult to say what was the best team I played in. You could look at 1984 when we did the treble, that was an absolutely amazing team. It was my best season personally when I scored 47 goals but I always look at the 1986 season when we did the double.
“We were all together and it’s the same as this team now. When you play football, the hardest thing for a manager is to keep players happy who are not playing.
“We had players in the dressing room when we were there, they’d never think they want us to lose so they get a game. They were saying, ‘Listen, we want you to win even if we’re not playing.’ It’s the same with Jurgen Klopp’s team.
“They just want the club to be successful. That can only be achieved by helping each other.
“In 1986, we had players like Kevin MacDonald, Steve Staunton, Gary Ablett, Barry Venison. They upped their game because when they were asked to play they couldn’t let the team down.
“The prime example now is James Milner. He’s been absolutely fantastic. He is passing his experience onto the younger ones as well.
“If you look at Trent (Alexander-Arnold) and (Andy) Robertson, they are young kids but they look experienced and learn that from being on the training pitch with Milner.
“This squad – and I say squad rather than team – are exactly the same. What Jurgen Klopp has done as well – we called it the boot room with Bob Paisley manager, Ronnie Moran, Joe Fagan and Roy Evans – he has a great team behind him with his coaching staff.
“It’s the coaching staff that keep the players happy, entertained and you need a leader. Paisley was that leader in our day and Jurgen is that leader today and that makes all the difference.”