Klopp names managerial idol who ‘completely changed’ the game

Jurgen Klopp has hailed Italian coaching legend Arrigo Sacchi for transforming how football is played.

The coaching influences behind Klopp’s managerial rise have been discussed in depth before, with former assistant Peter Krawietz naming Wolfgang Frank as his icon.

Frank, who was in charge of Mainz as Klopp was transitioning from player to coach, followed many of Sacchi’s teachings which can still be seen at Liverpool to this day, such as the high defensive line.

As part of his upcoming book, The Greatest Games, Jamie Carragher spoke with the Reds manager about Sacchi and his Milan side, as serialised in part by the Daily Telegraph.

“Sacchi completely changed how we think about football,” said Klopp. “He is one of the most influential coaches in the history of the game and a complete game-changer for me.

“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.

“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.”

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