Jurgen Klopp has opened up on his ‘important’ relationship with his Liverpool players and insists he is ‘the boss’ when it comes to training and decisions.
The charismatic German has developed a reputation as one of world football’s finest managers in recent years, winning the Champions League last season alongside the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup in a memorable calendar year of success on Merseyside.
Klopp has also guided the Reds to the top of the Premier League and within just six points of a drought-breaking league title, the club possessing a 25-point advantage over nearest challengers Manchester City as football temporarily pauses amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Liverpool manager’s close bond with his players is well-documented, though Klopp insists he maintains the correct balance when it comes to player-manager relations.
“I’m the boss. I say who plays, I say when we train, I say what we do and training, I decide all these things,” Klopp told JD’s Duffle Bag Podcast.
“But in between these decisions, I can be their friend. I always explained it like this… I’m a friend of my players, but I’m not their best friend. I’m not the guy who understands everything but I try to.
“I don’t pretend I’m interested, I am interested. They know pretty much all about me, about my wife and my sons… It’s important to know who you are working with and it’s important to know why somebody is determined and motivated.
“Where are you coming from? Are you out there to earn money, which is fine, or are you here to make your family proud, or are you here to make a whole country proud? There are so many different things… I think I need to know them. That makes a relationship. They can talk to me and it’s always important.”
Klopp added that his trust in his squad is another important factor in their recent success, but admits he is keen to always maintain perspective when it comes to the often consuming importance of football.
“I trust them,” he said. “I have a lot of faith in them and all that stuff. And it’s easy because they are wonderful human beings, sensationally skilled boys. So now we have to make sure that we all do the same in the same moment, and are pulling in the right direction.
“But it’s football. It’s a game. So it’s not that serious actually, it’s just a game. There are more important things in life. So try to stay cheeky a little bit and enjoy it if possible.”