John Barnes makes a lavish claim as he compares Jurgen Klopp to Liverpool's greatest manager
Anfield hero Barnes puts Jurgen ahead of Kenny & Paisley
LIVERPOOL legend John Barnes has paid manager Jurgen Klopp the ultimate tribute, after suggesting he is now on a par with Bill Shankly as the club's greatest manager.
After a week that saw Klopp lead Liverpool into a third Champions League final in five years, Anfield great Barnes has told the Sunday World that the mastermind of the club's revival has now edged himself ahead of Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish in the list of Liverpool managerial greats.
And he believes the legacy Klopp is building at Anfield will ensure that he goes down in history as a figure revered as much as the great Shankly, who built the foundations for the modern Liverpool success story back in the 1960s and '70s.
"It's impossible to compare teams and players from different eras because the game changes in different eras, but you can compare managers and that's why I say Klopp can now be put on the same level as Shankly," said Barnes, speaking at Gambling.com event in London.
"He might only have won one Premier League title and one Champions League at the moment, but look at what Kenny and Bob Paisley inherited at Liverpool and it was very different to what Klopp had when he started.
"Paisley was more successful than anyone as he won six league titles and three European Cups, but he did it after taking over Shankly's great team and that made his job a little easier.
"The same was true of Kenny, who took over a Liverpool team that was already one of the best in Europe and made them a little bit better.
"Continuing that success is never easy and they deserve so much credit for that, but what Klopp has done is different.
"He has rebuilt an entire squad at Liverpool from being the fourth- or fifth-best team in the country and got them to where they are now.
"This is why I would put Shankly and Klopp as the two best Liverpool managers of all time. When you consider the history of this great club, that's quite a statement."
Klopp could take his legend to a whole new level if he completes what has always been seen as the impossible dream, by leading Liverpool to an unprecedented quadruple.
Next Saturday's FA Cup final against Chelsea set to be followed by the Champions League final against Real Madrid in Paris in May 26th.
When Barnes assesses the secret to Klopp's success, he doesn't put it down to just tactics, charisma and an ability to get the best out of highly paid players.
Instead, he identifies the Anfield recruitment policy as the primary reason why Liverpool are excelling in all the major competitions.
And doing it while operating on a budget that is less than many of their domestic and European rivals.
"What Klopp has done is made great use of the resources he has," continues Barnes. "I never go along with the theory that he has had a limited budget because it is nonsense.
"He has spent a lot of money on players like Virgil van Dijk, Alisson, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita. But he raised a lot of that cash in sales of the likes of Phillippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez.
"The difference is he doesn't have an unlimited budget like Manchester City, and that's why people highlight Liverpool's success in the transfer market.
"I don't remember Real Madrid being linked with Luis Diaz, but look at the impact he has made at Liverpool.
"The same with Diogo Jota. Who was looking to get him from Wolves other than Liverpool? He has been a magnificent signing.
"Salah is another one. No one was looking at and he has become a huge star at Liverpool. Now we are saying they are all world-class players and that's all down to Klopp "He sees a player who can fit into his style of play and gets the best out of them. It's a great skill.
"Jurgen also works with players on the training ground and makes them better, which is not something we see all the time. "
Klopp is standing on the brink of immortality as he closes in on a trophy haul that could rewrite the history books.
John Barnes was speaking at a Gambling.com event.
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