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Jurgen Klopp names the manager who ‘completely changed how we think about football’

Jurgen Klopp is a student of the game and one manager especially (Picture: Getty Images)

Jurgen Klopp has hailed legendary AC Milan manager Arrigo Sacchi as ‘one of the most influential coaches in history’ and someone who ‘completely changed how we think about football.’

The Liverpool boss is widely considered one of the finest managers on the planet, after winning league titles in Germany with Borussia Dortmund and now in England with the Reds, also lifting the Champions League trophy last year.

The German has cited Sacchi as an influence, not only on his style of management, but on the way football is played around the world today.

Sacchi’s AC Milan side of the late 1980s won Serie A in 1988 and then back-to-back European Cups the following two years.

They are widely considered one of the best club sides of all time and Klopp believes it was down to the Italian’s revolutionary coaching style, which he has long studied.

‘Sacchi completely changed how we think about football,’ Klopp told Jamie Carragher in The Greatest Games, serialised by The Telegraph. ‘He is one of the most influential coaches in the history of the game and a complete game-changer for me.

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‘Because of him we had to judge the size of the pitch in a new way. I am sure you remember playing with man-marking tactics where you pretty much followed the opponent you were marking to the toilet. The pitch always felt incredibly big. Nobody played a high line because many teams played the libero.

‘Before him I was told who to mark and that was it. Too often the team with the better individuals won the game because it was all one-versus-one challenges all over the pitch, so if the other player was better than you, how could you win? Sacchi’s organisation made it completely different.

‘I did not learn it from Sacchi, but it was my manager at Mainz, Wolfgang Frank, who brought it to us, which meant as a player I watched five hundred videos of AC Milan.

Arrigo Sacchi is hailed as a revolutionary coach (Picture: Getty Images)

‘I saw how whenever Franco Baresi raised his arms to play offside, everyone else in the team was waiting. Ball orientated defending became a real tool, and of course on top of that Milan were a sensational team with Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and Baresi. They were some of the best players ever.’

Klopp recognises Sacchi’s influence on his former manager Frank, who he has long heralded as the most important figure in his career in the dugout.

‘I have told more than a thousand players that Wolfgang influenced a whole generation of footballers and still continues to do so,’ Klopp told Raphael Honigstein in the book ‘Klopp: Bring the Noise’. ‘He is the coach who has influenced me most. He was an extraordinary human being.’

Frank managed Klopp in two spells at Mainz, from 1995-97 and 98-2000.


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