Twelve months since his appointment as Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp remains the perfect man for the job, says Liverpool chief executive officer Ian Ayre.
This Saturday marks exactly one year since Klopp took charge at Anfield after he replaced the sacked Brendan Rodgers two months into the 2015-16 campaign.
The former Borussia Dortmund boss proved to be a qualified success in his first season, leading Liverpool to two cup finals, but the league form fell away disappointingly. This season, though, the club have started well and now sit just two points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City. But is is the German’s character that has most impressed Ayre.
“Whatever happens on the football pitch in the future only time will tell, but I don’t think you could pick a better character to fit this club,” he told the Daily Express. “Seeing that unfold has certainly given me satisfaction.
“It is a massive challenge and won’t be without its ups and downs but in terms of did we get the right man for the job? There is absolutely no question. That stands out a mile.”
Ayre, who is leaving Liverpool at the end of this season and is expected to take up the role of general manager at TSV 1860 Munich, has praised Klopp’s willingness to have faith in those he works with.
“The external view may focus on Jurgen’s energy and emotion but the reality is he is an extremely dedicated guy who values the input from other people,” he added. “So someone like assistant manager Zeljko Buvac will have a profound effect on what we are doing and – whether it is me, the owners, the other coaching staff, the scouts or the commercial department – Jurgen is a real listener.
“It’s not true to say we invested everything in him. He is extremely collaborative. He is prepared to have the debate. He will say his piece and stand his ground, and so he should, but he is a grown-up and he is prepared to accept that not everything will be as he wants.
“When you come to a football club from another country and another league, it is very difficult to be accepted. To get so many people behind him so quickly is great testament to the person he is.”
Meanwhile, defender Dejan Lovren, whose Anfield career had faltered before the arrival of Klopp, enthused about the intensity and emotion the German brings to his work.
“He is a perfectionist and so everyone wants to be like him,” the Serb said. “You want to give perfection during training and give 100 percent on the pitch. It is great to see how intense he is on the touchline.
“He is really emotional and shows that in every part of the game. There are a lot of things that I have learnt from him but he is not just a good manager, he is a good man.
“I will never forget he gave me a couple of days off when I had a problem with my daughter and she was ill and in hospital. She needed an operation.
“It was at the time of the Augsburg game away in February and he said to me, ‘Go to Croatia. Be with your daughter.’ These things are big for a player. He showed his personality then.”