Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s influence has proved as important off the pitch as on it as his leadership has engendered a “socially responsible” squad which has major benefits for the club’s official charity.
LFC Foundation director Matt Parish said the support of Klopp and his first team, plus Matt Beard and the women’s squad, has helped the delivery of important, much-needed work, not only in the local community but worldwide.
The foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary and Parish is grateful for the backing from some of the club’s most high-profile stars.
“Jurgen is one of our ambassadors, which helps. I think he gets it,” he told the PA news agency.
“I think the club get it, but with Jurgen he obviously has that connection to the supporters and the city and that is not just about success, that is about his personality, his values and beliefs.
“That culture comes from the head coach through to the players. They are a socially responsible group.
“We have worked with Trent delivering kids football in Toxteth, James Milner’s Foundation has funded sports camps in Anfield and Kirkby and we have just worked with Thiago and the Alcantara Foundation to develop facilities at a play centre in Toxteth.
“OK, they are maybe not on a ball court on a Friday evening delivering a coaching session but they are able to add some stardust. To have their support is massive.”
The publication of LFC Foundation’s second annual social impact report revealed support for over 83,000 people, almost two-thirds of whom come from the most deprived areas of the United Kingdom, and delivery of £8 million into the local economy in the last year.
But Parish believes the current socio-economic climate means their work could become even more important.
“We are trying to create life-changing opportunities for young people and families and most of the young people we work with are vulnerable, for whatever reason,” he added.
“Unfortunately a lot of our communities were disadvantaged before Covid, that has been exacerbated by Covid and those in most need are in more need.
“The economic situation is hitting the same communities and when life is tough young people’s resilience suffers so we try to work with them to improve that.
“Red Neighbours work with Fans Supporting Foodbanks to generate funds and get food donations up, but it also about long-term sustainable change.
“If young people have resilience they are better placed to face challenges. It is not the only answer but it will help them have happier lives.”