Liverpool defender Joe Gomez believes he is “blessed” to be coached by a manager like Jurgen Klopp.
The 22-year-old England international is highly rated by the German and formed his first-choice centre-back partnership with Virgil Van Dijk at the start of the season before a broken leg which took three months to fix completely curtailed his appearances.
It was clearly apparent the feeling the squad have for their manager when they hunted him down on the pitch at the Wanda Metropolitano after their 2-0 Champions League win over Tottenham and carried him to the Liverpool end before proceeding to toss him into the air several times.
“It’s only right. All of us have so much gratitude to have a manager like him,” said the defender.
“For me personally he has done so much for me and all the lads think the same.
“He is an unbelievable manager and someone we owe a lot to.
“I think it is just his energy. Not just the tactical side of things but him as a person, that’s why there is such a connection.
“That is why we want to play for him, why we want to celebrate with him when we win because he is one of the reasons we do it.
“It is special. He brings so much value to us and he shows us what it means to play for this club.
“I am quite young but I know I am blessed to have a manager like him. I don’t think there are many out there who do what he does. We are lucky.”
Someone else at the club who has been a role model for Gomez is captain Jordan Henderson.
He took his compatriot under his wing on his arrival as an 18-year-old with bags of potential and Gomez is eternally grateful.
“Unbelievable. I don’t think there are many better captains than him. I think as a person he is one of the best there is and he deserves so much,” he added.
“He’s had tough times but for me, ever since I came to the club, I’ve had a real connection with him.
“No-one deserves it more than him and I am so happy he was the one to lift [the Champions League trophy] for the sixth time for this club.”
While the win is seen as a starting point for Klopp’s side to go on and win more silverware, for Gomez it will help him hit the reset button.
He missed last year’s final against Real Madrid with an ankle injury and only got on for the last couple of minutes of the win against Spurs.
“I’ve had some tough times and it’s a battle to come back from it but I’ve never doubted myself and I never will,” he said.
“It is not easy to come back from injuries but it is part of the game and happens for a reason.
“It is a blessing to play for this club and I just have to go again.
“I am more motivated than ever and getting a taste of this is something which will drive me on next season.”
As one of the many players who are still four or five years away from their prime, Gomez predicts big things for the squad.
“We have a foundation which will stay and only get stronger so all our belief in what we can do is at an all-time high,” he said.
“We are here together to stay—that is the main thing. That’s what we all know—and I think the boundaries are limitless.
“Who knows, we just have to keep grounded, stay focused and keep doing what we are doing and hopefully we can get some more.”