Jurgen Klopp has reflected on the “outstanding impression” left on him by the late Ian St John, and explained how stories from Liverpool legends are “the petrol of dreams.”
St John sadly passed away on Monday evening, with the loss of the former Reds striker felt heavily as tributes flooded in for the club’s 13th all-time top scorer.
Klopp had the pleasure of meeting St John at Melwood, and following his death at 82, the Liverpool manager paid tribute to a bona fide Anfield legend.
“[He left] an outstanding impression,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“I said it before, when you are in a club with, really, a lot of legends around you and you see them one time maybe only, you are not sure about the name or something like that.
“But with Ian, it was completely different. I saw the pictures on the wall at Melwood, and when Ian came around the corner he didn’t change really. He didn’t change over the years.
“He was in his late 70s at that time, and he still had all the smile in his eyes. He was just a fantastic person.
“For me, as a football fan, in these moments you want to do right, you want to understand each word, you want to show the respect you have.
“It was so easy with him, because he’s a really nice and funny and smart person.
“That was Ian St John that day, and I only met him that time. All the things around I heard about him pictured exactly that, obviously, because everyone was so positive about him.
“So now another big one of Liverpool is not here any more, but in a better place.
“That’s on the one side obviously sad, and I really feel for his family, but on the other side being such a good person as Ian St John was, we can all be sure where we will meet him again if we will be nice as well.”
St John was a regular among Liverpool legends events, and as one of the most influential signings in the club’s history – who, along with Ron Yeats, paved the way for Bill Shankly‘s side to join the top flight – he deserves that title.
While the word ‘legend’ can be bandied around frivolously in football – with this no different on Merseyside – Klopp is aware that those who have been there and done it before can provide him and his side with “the petrol of dreams.”
“To understand the club you have to meet as many [legends] as possible, I would say,” he continued.
“Because it’s one thing what the people tell you from inside the club and what others tell you from outside the club, then you get some completely different information from the players of the past.
“They know properly how you feel when you go out there on the pitch and all these kinds of things, how nice it is and what it gives you.
“They tell you all these wonderful old stories, and that’s actually the petrol of dreams.
“So they tell you that and you want to have it as well.”