Steven Gerrard has a lot of love for Jurgen Klopp
Steven Gerrard believes that manager Jurgen Klopp has brought a feel-good factor back to Liverpool that was lacking during Brendan Rodgers’ final few months at the Anfield club.
Klopp invited Gerrard to train with Liverpool as he prepares for his second season with LA Galaxy in America, with the club’s former captain admitting he was blown away by the impact the German has made since he replaced Rodgers in October.
“My impressions from the outside were that I loved him,” Gerrard told BT Sport.
“I loved how charismatic he was on camera, I loved his tactics and I always appreciated Borussia Dortmund, who I watched quite closely in the Champions League.
“So I was huge fan anyway, but now that I have met him and worked with him, it has gone up a notch.
“I had coffee with him and when I came out of the room I just felt happy. I felt taller. And I am not one of the players so I can only imagine what he has done to those players in the dressing room.
“The atmosphere at the club is brilliant. The players are buzzing around the training ground and there are smiles all over the place. I think he has lifted the whole place. He wants to be around players who are enjoying it. He does not want players to be tense, worried or concerned. He wants to take all that pressure on his shoulders.
“I love the way he handles players individually, I love the way he handles his team and I am all over his tactics. I’m watching him on the outside, but I also get to work with him so it is a brilliant experience for me as a Liverpool supporter, an ex-player, a pundit and also for my future as well. I am loving it.
“The players should be excited. I think to myself, imagine being 25 or 26 and how happy and excited I would be to be working with him.
“So the players should be sitting themselves down and realising what an opportunity they have to achieve success in the next two, three, four or however many years he is here. If the players are not feeling it then there is something wrong.”
Gerrard has declined to make too many comments on Rodgers since his departure as Liverpool boss, but he has now admitted he mood at the club had taken a turn for the worse in his final months as a player last season.
“Towards the end of the time with Brendan, you could see there was a lot of frustration in the crowd and I think that was transmitting to the pitch,” he continued.
“The players were very tense and nervous and I certainly felt that towards the end of last season. That is normal when results are not going well.
“What Jurgen has done is what Brendan did when he first came in which was to try
and release that pressure and expectation away from the players and let them play. He is trying to crack the shell to let them come out and express themselves.”
Gerrard suggested Liverpool can look to get themselves in the mix to win the Premier League title in 2016, but he suggests a push for a top four finish and success in a cup competition is a more realistic target.
“If someone offered me a trophy and the top four now, of course I would take that,” he added.
“Obviously we all want to reach for the stars but crazy expectations are not going to help anyone. I do not think it (title talk) is fair on the manager or the players. Where they are at the moment they just need to take every game as it comes and have the top four as the main target.
“I also think there is an opportunity to get involved in the title race because no one is running away with it this season. Usually at this time of year you would have a Chelsea or a Manchester City looking unbeatable.
“There is not one team that I think will not lose two games before the end of the season. Not just for Liverpool, but for Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham, it is the first season for a few years when Chelsea and City have not looked like the favourites.
"So there is opportunity to get involved in the title race."