Champions League finalists Liverpool are reaping the benefits of putting faith in their coach Juergen Klopp, former Liverpool player John Barnes said ahead of Saturday’s showdown in Madrid against Tottenham Hotspur.
The charismatic German manager has overseen a remarkable improvement in Liverpool since being named coach in 2015, taking them to two successive Champions League finals and earning a club record of 97 points in the Premier League last season.
Liverpool were pipped to the Premiership title by Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, and Barnes told Reuters the success of both teams showed the merit for clubs of trusting their managers.
“There are two teams whose fans and hierarchy have given the managers the power, Man City and Liverpool, and that’s why they’ve been so far ahead of everybody else,” the former England international told Reuters at a Champions League event in Madrid.
“Are they better than Chelsea or Man United? Not necessarily, but the harmony has been there, the fans believe in the manager, there’s no excuse when they lose,” said Barnes, 55, who played more than 400 games in a 10-year-spell for Liverpool, winning two English league titles and two FA Cups.
Referring to the apparent growth in the influence of players at some clubs, questioned Manchester United’s decision to sack Jose Mourinho in December because high-profile personalities including Paul Pogba had fallen out with the Portuguese coach.
“Regardless of what you think of Jose Mourinho, how can you sack him because the players won’t play for him? You would never sack Klopp if the players didn’t want to play for him,” Barnes said.