• ‘Liverpool need tough love from Klopp’

    Jurgen Klopp Liverpool

    Liverpool have always been a side that needs ‘tough love’, says Gerard Houllier, with Jurgen Klopp proving to be the perfect coach to deliver ‘vision’ and long-term success at Anfield.

    Those in the red half of Merseyside are currently basking in the warm glow of a first title triumph in 30 years.

    Since last getting their hands on the English top-flight crown in 1990, many managers have tried and failed to get Liverpool back on the loftiest of perches.

    Houllier spent six years at the helm between 1998 and 2004, delivering domestic cup success and a Uefa Cup win.

    He also carried the Reds close to a long-awaited title, as did Rafa Benitez and Brendan Rodgers.

    Klopp has been the man to get Liverpool over the line, while also claiming Champions League and Club World Cup honours, with the German considered to be a good fit for the most demanding of roles.

    Houllier told the Liverpool Echo: ‘Players need somebody who knows where he is going and what he wants to do. They follow somebody who has a vision.

    ‘And they need “tough love”. You’ve got to be tough sometimes but you’ve got to love them. They need to understand that they can rely on you in case of a problem.

    ‘But you love them. Jurgen is a good demonstration of that as well.’

    Klopp is now in the process of trying to establish a dynasty at Anfield, with his place in Liverpool folklore already safely secured.

    Houllier is also fondly remembered on Merseyside, with the Frenchman of the opinion that he helped to put a number of building blocks in place that have allowed successors to flourish.

    He added: ‘When you’re a manager you need three things. You need to have results, you need to leave a legacy, and also you need to make players and the team improve.

    ‘When I left there was a team in the Champions League spots. There was a different habit and a different tradition of preparing the team and approaching competitions.

    ‘In terms of diet and looking after ourselves, we changed things which helped to be more competitive. There were new facilities with the new Melwood.

    ‘Michael Owen won the Ballon d’Or. Players like Jamie Carragher, Danny Murphy, Robbie Fowler, Emile Heskey … they all improved when we were together there.

    ‘And, of course, Steven Gerrard. I saw him when he was 17 and a half. He started training and playing with the first team. He became captain at the age of 23. That tells you everything.’

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