Powers of Persuasion

Is Alisson the latest played to be wooed by Klopp?

It would be impossible to ignore Jurgen Klopp, even if he were an ordinary bloke doing an ordinary job. His massive frame matches his huge personality and his honest, unguarded persona has made him the most universally popular Liverpool manager of the modern era.

He is a lot more than just a likeable bloke though. As a manager, amoungst many other things, he has proven himself to be apt in the art of persuasion, with many players unable to resist his gravational pull.

Proper manager

Within ten seconds of his first press conference, Klopp had the media eating from the palm of his hand.

Cracking the funnies and using words like “cool” to describe the enormous beast of a challenge he had taken on, Klopp showcased his wonderful personality from day one. Crucially though, there was substance to go with this wonderful eccentricity.

His succes at Dortmund when facing off against Bayern was what put him in the general conscious of the football world. Perhaps more importantly, it put him in the minds of the world’s top players and agents.

Liverpool fans rejoiced, we had a man we could believe in, finally.

Chalk and cheese

For years under Brendan Rodgers Liverpool had to settle for second rate players. The elite core group of players shunned the chance to join a club that had seen better days and was guided by a rookie coach. Willian, Costa, Kroos, Mkhitaryan, Sanchez, to name but five. None would come.

The fans groaned as we had to settle for weak and obscure reinforcements like Assiadi, Aspas and Sahin. It felt like we would struggle to regain our status as a top club capable of signing premier talent.

Now though it is a very different state of affairs. It couldn’t be much more different in fact. Klopp, using sheer force of personality and honesty, is perfectly capable of sitting down in front of a player, as he always insists on with any target and wooing them in to his clutches.

The below testimony from Ilkay Gundogan, cited in Raphael Honigstein’s book Bring The Noise, is a fascinating incite to Klopp’s methods.

“It was very hush hush. I have to say I was a little intimidated by him at first — he was so tall. We talked for half an hour by ourselves and it was obvious to me that I wanted to go to Dortmund afterwards. He’s got this gift. He can totally captivate you. Dazzle you. Make you feel euphoric. I never met any other coach like him.”

“He asked me, ‘What would be your targets if you came to us?’. I said, ‘To play as often and well as possible’. ‘You see, that’s already your first mistake’, he said. ‘It’s not about playing often, but about making the most of your time on the pitch. I can’t promise that you’ll play often — that’s not possible. But I can promise that you’ll learn an incredible amount, and that we will be extremely successful if you all bring your potential to bear.”

“I remember that clearly. That was the first time in football that somebody didn’t promise me the stars, but was open and honest with me.”

This striking ability to project his personality on to players, instills them with the belief that this mad scientist will improve them as pros. Yes a lot of players follow the dollar signs, but many still yearn to improve and be part of something special. Klopp van offer them a home.

Ratio

Klopp’s success in the transfer market has got better and better. Clearly players are wising up to what the German has done at Liverpool.

Van Dijk, Kieta, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Fabinho were all linked to big rival clubs. They all shunned them to join Klopp’s Liverpool.

If, and it still remains if, Alisson signs then he will be yet another in a growing queue of players to be wooed by Klopp. Real Madrid and zchelsea have been credited with interest so it would be one hell of a coop.

Klopp’s persuasive skill with transfer targets is just one of the many great benefits the towering, grinning German has brought to the club. Let’s hope many more continue to sit up and listen.

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