Liverpool: "Terrific" Klopp is key to success, says Sammy Lee
Former midfielder Sammy Lee, who won three successive league titles with Liverpool, tells AS that he believes the Reds could build another dynasty with Jürgen Klopp at the helm.
Sammy, how did you feel at full-time last night when Liverpool were finally confirmed as champions?
I think every Liverpool supporter was elated. People talk about this being a great Liverpool side; I think they could end up being one of the best ever. Now obviously to do that they have got to sustain that success, but I think that with the manager they’ve got in charge they have got every chance of doing that.
What does this achievement mean for the city as a whole?
Thirty years they’ve been waiting for this and when the time is right they’ll have a procession through the city so the people will be able to show their appreciation for what Jürgen and the team have done. But it’s also a chance for the players and the club to show their appreciation to the fans. This fanbase is second-to-none, always has been, and when the time is right it will be great for both groups, the team and the fans, to show their appreciation and respect for each other. They’re both in unison - the players on the park and the supporters off it.
How important has Jürgen Klopp between to Liverpool’s success during his five years at club?
I think the guy is just terrific, absolutely terrific. One of the biggest things I feel about him is that he gets the football club, he gets the people, he gets the city. His honesty shines through in everything you hear from him. He’s very forthright, very clever, very astute. I think he’s the ideal man for Liverpool Football Club, I really do.
If they can keep him at the helm they could go on to create a dynasty similar to what the likes of [Bill] Shankly and [Bob] Paisley had back in the day.
You were a big part of the team that won three championships in a row in the 1980s. How difficult is it to defend the title?
It’s never easy to retain the league; it takes consistency, you need the right man at the helm and you need to constantly be striving to improve. You listen to these Liverpool players talk after the game and they are very mature and they are always focused on improvement. Even listening to Jordan [Henderson] last night – you know they are delighted to have won it and they’ll enjoy it now, but they know full well that they will need to work even harder to retain that crown.
What has impressed you most about this side?
You only have to look at Klopp to understand the way his team plays. They have a multitude of stars but nobody acts like a star, they are all just a part of the team. They are all very grounded and all work tirelessly for the cause, and in that they all become stars. The key to all of that is Jürgen Klopp. The guy is absolutely terrific for the football club, for the ‘brand’, but also for the city because he gets the people.
What are you expecting from the final seven games of the season?
I think the main priority was to get over the line as quickly as possible. People talk about going for records, but you can still do that while giving some of the youngsters a chance, because the only way you find out about them is by playing them and this is an ideal time to give them some game time, playing alongside some terrific players to help them and guide them through.
The virus has effected everyone and we know there’s going to be a ‘new normal’ so clubs are going to have to concentrate more on bringing some home-grown players through. I think Jürgen gets that and he gets the fact that they have some fantastic talent within the football club and it’s a chance now to give them the opportunity.