Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has revealed that some of the principles of his management style were influenced by New Zealand’s famous All Blacks rugby team.
Klopp has never shied away from trying unconventional or innovative methods of coaching, famously attracting attention for employing a throw-in coach to try and give Liverpool every possible advantage during games.
“I have learned that when you think you have reached the pinnacle you are already on the way down,” he said. “We don’t feel that. I don’t feel satisfied. This is just another step, a big one, an unbelievably big one, but it’s not the only thing I want to talk to the boys about when I meet them in 20 years’ time.
“As long as you wear the shirt, less than 100% is never allowed. That’s not my phrase. I kept that for myself from the All Blacks documentary.
“And that’s for each LFC player and for me. That’s what we try to live.”
It’s not only Liverpool who have benefited from Klopp’s fascination with the All Blacks. The boss revealed that he first used them as inspiration during his time with German side Mainz 05 back in 2001.
“I think it was my first pre-season,” he said. “And in the summer break I saw this documentary. I was completely impressed by these big fellas and how they spoke.
“At that time, the All Blacks were by far the best rugby team in the world, with a winning percentage of over 70%. That’s so impressive.
“These boys, they worked as butchers, as builders, all that stuff, and all these guys spoke about their past and what it meant to them to play for this team.
“At Mainz, the last two minutes before the team bus arrived at the stadium for a game, we would always listen to the Haka, so that when the door opened it was pretty loud! It gave us just a little kick.
“They were the All Blacks, and at Mainz we made ourselves the All Reds! Nobody noticed that, because we were a small club, a small team. But for us it was big. That’s how it started for that team.
I don’t know how much influence it had, but if you ask the players of that time, they really liked it. We were a team nobody is interested in, but we were really interested in ourselves!”