- Manager says Premier League champions want more trophies
- ‘We don’t have to compare me with Shankly and Paisley’
Jürgen Klopp has said he is not interested in a statue in his honour or comparisons to great managerial figures in Liverpool’s past because his priority is ensuring the new Premier League champions dominate in the future.
The Liverpool manager vowed his record-breaking team “will not stop” after winning the club’s coveted 19th league title in addition to the Champions League and Club World Cup inside the last 13 months. Klopp’s achievements are worthy of immediate recognition with a statue at Anfield, according to Steven Gerrard, who believes the 53-year-old ranks alongside Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish as iconic managers for the club.
But Klopp, who gave his title winners the day off on Friday to recover from Thursday’s celebrations, insisted he was not worthy of the comparisons and was motivated only by the challenge of winning more trophies.
“They all got that [a statue] when they were not here any more, isn’t that right?” said Klopp of the Shankly and Paisley statues. “I want to live for another 30 or 40 years so I’m not interested in statues. For sure not in my lifetime. I don’t want to pass anything like that. We don’t have to compare me with these iconic figures. What Bill Shankly did after picking the club up from the Second Division, then Bob took over and won pretty much everything, then Kenny played for this club, became player-manager, manager and was immediately successful as a manager, which is incredible. From my point of view there is no comparison possible.
“I’m here for four and a half years. I came from Germany to try to do my job, I love the city and I love the club, yes that’s true. But there’s no comparison possible and especially not needed.”
A “champions” scarf on the statue of Bill Shankly outside Anfield. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images/Reuters
Klopp said he identified with the city of Liverpool because “I love the scouse soul”. He elaborated: “I love the way they love life in the city of Liverpool, I love the way they want to be different. They are different. I know a lot of scousers and they are really good people and we both come from a region where we speak a pretty strong and strange dialect. Where I am coming from nobody understands a word outside that region, and scouse is pretty similar.”
Liverpool will receive the Premier League trophy at a special, physically distanced presentation at their final home game against Chelsea. Liverpool city council has confirmed the club’s title victory will be marked in some way at the end of the campaign, with a trophy parade at a later, safer date.
Klopp’s immediate focus, however, is on breaking Manchester City’s record of 100 points and maintaining Liverpool’s dominance for several years. “I’ve had good parts in my career but not this good,” he said. “It is second to none that I know to be honest. It is difficult to get here and it is all about the boys’ commitment, desire and understanding of the club’s heart and soul. The consistency the boys have showed is exceptional. We will not stop. We have to – and we will – stay focused. We see the opportunity. ‘We will not stop’ doesn’t mean that we will win everything. We just want to improve.
“This group is the right mix. We have a lot of world-class players but other clubs have world-class players too. The consistency comes from the mix of determination, buying into the idea with attitude, character and personality. That’s what makes this group so special. They are all very confident because we won some stuff but they are still humble. As long as we stay humble we have a good chance to be successful in the future. We have a common idea and a common dream.”
Liverpool’s manager, players and coaching staff celebrated their title triumph at Formby Hall Golf Resort, having relocated their bubble after Wednesday’s win against Crystal Palace. An emotional moment for Klopp came in a call to his family moments before Chelsea’s win over City sparked mass celebrations on Merseyside. He revealed: “I called my family 10 seconds before the final whistle. We had a FaceTime call. I told them I love them, they told me they love me. We cannot be together and that is not nice but that’s how it is, but then I put the phone on the table and said: ‘Leave it on, because in four or five seconds something special can happen.’ That was a really nice moment which I enjoyed a lot.”