Jurgen Klopp named Robert Lewandowski as the greatest player he has ever coached.
Liverpool have quite a few leading stars in Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk.
But the German boss stuck to his guns and sided with Lewandowski as the best talent he has overseen. Both of them worked together for 4 years at Borussia Dortmund where the striker scored 103 goals in 187 appearances. He departed for Bayern Munich in 2014 and is now one of the world’s best players.
Klopp said, “What he has made out of his potential, how he pushed himself to become the player he is today, that’s extraordinary. If every player has a development similar to Lewandowski, when I first saw him at Lech Poznan, then the football world would be completely crazy.
“All players would win all their duels, the full-backs would complete all their crosses, the midfielders would be strong in one against ones, the wingers would tackle and play precise long balls. Lewandowski made every step he had to make to become the goal machine he is today.
“He knows exactly what to do in every situation. He’s an absolute machine. I would like to thank him and all the other players who made it look like as if I’m a very good coach.”
Lewandowski himself claimed that Klopp holds a father-like image in his life. He told The Players’ Tribune, “When the second season began, I was still struggling. I also felt that Jurgen wanted something from me, but I didn’t understand exactly what.
“So after a really bad defeat to Marseille in the Champions League – I think we lost 3–0 – I went to see him. I said, ‘Jurgen, come on. We have to speak. Just tell me what you expect from me.’
“I can’t remember everything he told me – my German still wasn’t the best – but through the few words I knew and from his body language, we understood each other. We had a great chat. Three days later, I scored a hat trick and assisted another goal against Augsburg. We won 4–0, and that was the turning point for me.
“It was a mental thing, a hang-up of some sort. And I think it had something to do with my father. At the time I didn’t think about it. But now I realise that my conversation with Jurgen was like one of those I wish I could’ve had with my dad [who died when Lewandowski was a teenager]. One of those I had not been able to have in many, many years.
“I could talk to Jurgen about anything. I could trust him. He is a family man, and he has so much empathy for what goes on in your private life.”