Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has hailed the impact Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp has had on the Premier League.
Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers in October and has overseen just one Liverpool defeat since arriving at Anfield, compiling impressive wins against Chelsea and Manchester City, while routing Koeman’s Southampton 6-1 in the League Cup quarter-finals midweek.
Koeman saw first hand the effect Klopp has had on Liverpool following his arrival as Southampton were torn apart on Wednesday, despite taking an early lead.
“Jurgen Klopp plays real attacking football – the kind of football the public wants to see,” the Dutchman said.
“It is completely different stuff. We now see a totally different Liverpool side. They are an exception compared to the biggest clubs in the Premier League.
“None of the big clubs dare to play real attacking football. Manchester City don’t do it, Manchester United don’t, Arsenal don’t and Chelsea don’t.
“Their intentions are totally different. They all drop back a bit, they wait for a mistake and then come out to attack. That is not what I call taking initiative. They don’t want to be dominant or attack, despite all the quality they have.”
Klopp’s impact at Liverpool has been so pronounced the side are now being talked of as potential Premier League winners despite being seventh in the table, nine points behind surprise leaders Leicester City.
“What Klopp does right now in football in this country is so refreshing. His approach is really what the Premier League needs,” added Koeman.
“Physically and defensively the Premier League is the best in the world, but there are hardly any big teams who are prepared to play proper attacking and entertaining football.
“What Klopp now brings to England will raise the level of football and will make games more attractive for the fans.”
Koeman highlighted Liverpool’s strength in depth after Roberto Firmino, James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Christian Benteke were named on the bench for the trip to St Mary’s.
“This is why Liverpool could compete with the best clubs now that Klopp has them playing so great,” he said.
“I have always admired coaches who have the guts to go forward so much. Klopp is not passive. He does not wait. He wants his team to be the boss on the pitch and go for it.
“You don’t win 3-1 [away] against Chelsea, 4-1 [away] against Man City and 6-1 against Southampton without a serious idea about top-level football.”
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