Gary Neville has come out of hiding to begrudgingly praise newly crowned champions Liverpool, describing their long-awaited title triumph as an ‘incredible achievement’.
The former Manchester United captain jokingly claimed he would have to move to Papua New Guinea should Liverpool end their three decade wait for a league title, the island in the southwestern Pacific far enough to avoid the raucous celebrations from the opposite end of the East Lancs Road.
Neville has been distinctly quiet in the days following the Reds’ coronation as Premier League champions for the first time, with his fellow Sky Sports’ pundits concerned in their search for the missing Mancunian.
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Neville, however, returned from hiding ahead of Brighton’s clash with Manchester United on Tuesday night, describing his emotions of the last few days before reluctantly paying tribute to Jurgen Klopp and his side.
“How’s it been these last few days? It’s not been particularly great!” Neville told Sky Sports.
“It’s an incredible achievement. It’s been coming for a couple of years. They were knocking on the door last season – Manchester City had to be at their absolute best.
“Jurgen Klopp has turned £30m players into £130m ones. He’s turned £75m players into £150m ones.
“The recruitment has been brilliant, the coaching has been brilliant and it all comes from the manager. It’s a day I don’t like – I’d seen enough of it in my childhood years – but you have to congratulate them.
“They have absolutely been the best team this season. What Jurgen Klopp has done has been fantastic. He came in four years ago and at the time I never thought Liverpool were capable of mounting a Premier League title challenge. It just felt like all of the other clubs had bigger budgets.
“Liverpool were in a deep rut over many, many years. They have great history and a great fanbase so you can never write clubs like that off, but to go and win a league title ahead of the investment of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United is something I didn’t think was possible.
“What Klopp has done over a three or four-year period has been absolutely outstanding. Everything at a football club comes from the manager, he sets the tone for everybody; the players, the owners, the fanbase. Klopp has galvanised Liverpool over a three-year period, brought everybody with him and put a brilliant team together.
“They’re a fantastic team, they’ve been brilliant to watch for three years but painful for me. It’s been coming. When you get to a Champions League final and lose you have a little smirk, but when they won the Champions League the following year and chased Manchester City like they did to a point where they would have been worthy champions last season, you can only congratulate them.
“It’s obviously something that is horrible for every Manchester United fan, it’s something the modern Manchester United fan has never seen but as one who watched them in the ’70s and ’80s it’s a moment we didn’t want to see again but one we saw a lot of in our early years.”