Jurgen Klopp and Bill Shankly could barely be more different as personalities.

Shankly the dour Scot who thought football more important than life or death.

Klopp the happy, smiley, ‘f-bomb’-dropping German who doesn’t give two ‘f-bombs’ about anything.

Yet the parallels between the Liverpool managers past and present are spooky.

Like Shankly, Klopp has a humility and normality about him and an ability to touch the lives of supporters and star players alike.

Two ordinary men capable of doing extraordinary things.

Jurgen Klopp with Mohamed Salah

The cartoon caricature of Klopp — the glasses, the teeth and the cap — that is displayed on the banner on the Kop is well crafted by him.

Because it gives everyone, players and fans alike, a feeling of, ‘You know what, he actively wants and is helping us to enjoy this experience’.

Shankly was a serious man but he still gave the Anfield faithful the same feeling of enjoyment through the trophies they won.

He was all about hard work and the importance of football, while Klopp has portrayed an image of ‘it’s only a game’ and a feeling that he’s just enjoying his way to success.

The reality, of course, is that both men will have had to graft and graft to do what they have done.

Bill Shankly
Bill Shankly

Jurgen Klopp celebrates

Yet when the success has come, both have shown an incredible ability not to be affected by the sport they work in, a vibe that rubs off on those around them.

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Like Shankly, Klopp has a way of making players believe they can achieve anything while keeping their feet on the ground.

Remember what Shankly said to the Press when he introduced Ron Yates as his new signing. “Take a walk around my centre-half, gentlemen. He’s a colossus.”

It’s a very simple philosophy of treating people like you want to be treated yourself.

When Shankly was ultimately biffed off by Liverpool, he started turning up to watch Everton train and play, he’d go to watch local games.

Bill Shankly
Liverpool manager Bill Shankly stands defiant in defeat

And there was a humility in him doing that, a humility in this God-like figure walking among us.

When I interviewed Klopp earlier this season, I asked him what he did in the summer and he said he just sat on his hotel balcony enjoying the sun.

Now, I don’t for a minute imagine he stayed in a classic Seventies Costa Del Sol hotel, but you can still imagine him in one with his feet up, sipping a beer and chatting to Shaz and Tone whose room is next to his over the little partition between their balconies.

Whether that sort of scene played out or not doesn’t matter because that’s the way he comes across — as a very down-to-earth man.

Jurgen Klopp hugs Roberto Firmino

Yet you could count on one hand the number of players on the planet who wouldn’t want to play for him.

And wherever this ordinary man ventures on his holidays this summer, he will do so as the extraordinary fella who finally ended Liverpool’s 30-year wait for a title.

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There, I’ve said it. I know I’ve been insistent that I wouldn’t proclaim the title race over until Liverpool were 14 to 16 points ahead of Manchester City in March or April.

But even though I can still see City winning every game between now and the end of the season, Liverpool aren’t going to drop 16 points, or 19 if they win their game in hand.





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