Joel Matip has described Jurgen Klopp “second to none worldwide,” with the Liverpool centre-back explaining how players would “walk through fire” for their coach.
Among Klopp’s first signings as Reds manager, Matip is one of 15 players to go on to hit 100 appearances during his time in charge, as part of the core of his group.
While he may not be first-choice starter at the back, largely owing to his inconsistent fitness, the No. 32 remains a key player within the squad, and this season serves as an outlier as the only campaign in which he has played fewer than 30 times.
The 28-year-old signed a new five-year contract with Liverpool back in October, keeping him with the club until at least 2024, which is a sign of both his and his manager’s commitment.
And speaking to the Westfalenpost, Matip described Klopp as “second to none worldwide,” in a testimony to his belief in his coach.
“He has a great team and a great approach that every single player tries to internalize,” he said.
“His intense style of football, giving the opponent no space to breathe, is special.
“I don’t know how he does it, it remains his secret. But the fact is that his teams are ready to walk through fire for him.
“He manages to create a very special atmosphere in the team and make it clear that you can only be successful if you subscribe to the big picture.
“He planted this mentality in the minds of the players, fans and the whole club and thus created a great unity.
“He is an exceptional coach who is second to none worldwide.”
It is no surprise to hear this, but this praise is always welcome, with there being few, if any, players who have not embraced Klopp’s approach.
His infectious personality is the same whether on camera or not, and this is how he and his staff have been able to lead Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League.
That Matip holds him in such high regard is encouraging, as though later in the interview he admits he would be open to a return to Schalke in the future, it is clear he understands the importance of the squad to Klopp.
His praise for the manager crystallises how he has been able to transform the Reds’ fortunes over the past five years.
And with the players ready to “walk through fire” for him, it would be no surprise for this success to continue in 2020/21.