Our football ambassador Phil Thompson joined Paddy Power and Ruby Walsh as our very special guest on the From The Horse’s Mouth podcast and he wasted no time getting into it about Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s relationships with ex-Reds icons.
As an ex-player people will always ask you the question ‘which current managers would you like to play for now’? I could see myself playing for Pep Guardiola because of the way he is, I like his intensity.
But, Jurgen Klopp is just wonderful. He transcends the Premier League and fans of other clubs love the fella. They can’t dislike him and that’s not always been the case with previous Liverpool managers. Klopp always keeps you guessing and you never know what is coming at his press conferences, but he’s always got a big smile and a laugh at them.
To be able to succeed at The Reds, you have to get Liverpool and I don’t just mean the team. You have to get the people of the city, because Scousers like to think we different – we just have that in our psyche where you either get us or you don’t. But, if you get onboard with us, there is something binding about it that you cannot break, and Klopp just fits all that.
People will compare him to Bill Shankly, but he’s Klopp and he’s unique.
He’s just a person you’d love to have a pint with.
He’s very approachable, when you meet him it’s a very warm greeting. You get a big hug, and he says ‘Legend! Come in here’. It’s just fantastic.
At times Rafa (Benitez) and God bless him Gerard Houllier we probably uptight about ex-players and they get really touchy about them. You see that same thing now with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United. Even if sometimes the likes of Gary Neville can get onboard with him because they are mates.
But, I know so many ex-Liverpool players that work in the media did not like Rafa Benitez and Gerard Houllier. I went into Houllier’s office one day and he had written down a whole list of the pundit who were doing radio, newspapers and TV.
He had about 21 or 22 ex-players on that.
I knew what it was like because I’d been doing the media until I came back to Liverpool in 1998 and I kept having to tell him ‘Gerard, these lads are onboard. It’s up to us to give them something to shout about’.
We did that in 2001, but it’s really hard for managers to remember that sometimes. I remember Gerard pulled in Alan Kennedy on time because he’s been mouthing off behind the scenes and had a little bit of a personal go at him. You got to mind your words when you talk about Liverpool sometimes, you can’t bite the hand that feeds you.
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