Kevin-Prince Boateng feels Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp is arguably the best coach in the world.
Klopp has received considerable criticism in recent weeks following Liverpool’s poor start to 2017, but Boateng, who worked with the German during a spell on loan at Borussia Dortmund in 2009, has fond memories of the charismatic 49-year-old.
“I could see it immediately. He is the best coach in the whole world,” Boateng was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
“He knows when to push you and when to comfort you. He knows when you need a drink, when you need water. He has this … He has everything. Ask the players and they will say ‘he is the best, I would die for him.’
“He knows exactly what every player needs and gives them time. There were players at Dortmund who played five minutes in six months but they were happy – happy to come to training, happy to work, because he made you feel important.
“Not necessarily as a player – maybe he does not need you – but as a person. That is why he is successful everywhere.
“And Liverpool is perfect; just watching his presentation you see it. ‘The normal one’ – people there love that. If he had gone to Paris, it would have been best suit, [different message]. He knows how to grab people.”
After a difficult spell at White Hart Lane, Klopp restored some of Boateng’s confidence at Signal Iduna Park, the midfielder going on to feature for Portsmouth, AC Milan, Schalke and now Las Palmas.
“[Former Spurs manager] Martin Jol told me he did not want me after a month,” Boateng said.
“So, it became me against the world. You know when you shut off? That was me. ‘You do not want me? I will enjoy life.’
“I realise now how bad it was: six days a week nightclubbing, drinking for almost a year. But I was only 20.
“You do not think things are going wrong. You see money coming in. ‘OK, I get my fun somewhere else.’
“Girls, nightclubs, friends… fake friends. Every night I was out until six. I was like 95 kilos, swollen from the drinking and bad food.
“I said: ‘This cannot be me, I do not want to be that guy. I have something inside: I am a football player.’ I called my friends, two real friends, and they came.
“Together, we cleaned out my fridge and the house. That day, I said: ‘No, stop it.’ I did not drink. I did not go out. I started cooking; I wanted to eat healthily.
“From one day to the next. If I did it slowly, maybe I would not do it. I needed a clean break.”
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