LONDON (Reuters) - Former Liverpool great Alan Kennedy believes manager Juergen Klopp has a transformative ability to bring the best out of any player.
The 62-year-old Kennedy says the German coach has injected an extraordinary new lease of life into the club and that admiration for Klopp stretches beyond the Liverpool faithful.
“If I was player at the club now I’d love to play for Juergen Klopp. He can bring the best out of any player,” Kennedy told Reuters in a telephone interview.
”He has transformed players like (James) Milner into a very solid left back and we’ve had a problem there for a long time.
”I like the way (centre back Joel) Matip has adapted to the Premier League and he looks like a good acquisition. He reads the game well, he’s very quick and he gives confidence to the players around him...
“Every player will be happy to be working for Klopp. He’s a very open and positive person.”
The former attacking fullback, who won five league titles with Liverpool between 1979 and 1984, says last weekend’s last gasp 4-3 defeat at Bournemouth could be the wake-up call that stops the club falling short in the title race.
“Take nothing away from Bournemouth because they were very, very good, tackled the job well and never gave up, but Liverpool collapsed in the last 20 minutes,” said Kennedy, who made 359 appearances for the Anfield club.
”It was a massive blow. I think Liverpool thought they could win at a canter and I‘m afraid you can’t do that in the Premier League.
“If that’s the moment that kick starts the season then for me it’s a great wake-up call.”
Slaven Bilic’s struggling West Ham United side, who are just three points off the foot of the table, travel to Liverpool on Sunday and Kennedy cannot see the London club’s poor form improving on Merseyside.
“West Ham’s form has been dreadful. They’ve had a wretched run and at the moment they can’t buy a win,” said Kennedy, who also had spells at north east rivals Newcastle United and Sunderland.
”Liverpool sometimes play with four, five or even six in midfield so it will be congested but they have ways of breaking teams down and I think Liverpool will win comfortably.
“West Ham were such a great team in 1970s and 80s and it was sometimes a pleasure to play against them because they were always playing attractive football and I think that is still the case.”
No Premier League side has scored more goals than Liverpool so far this season (35) with the likes of Adam Lallana, Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho all contributing to the tally.
Kennedy, who had an impressive record of scoring in big games -- including the winning goal against Real Madrid in the 1981 European Cup final -- believes having a number of regular goalscorers is a quality that title-winning sides must have.
“Liverpool have played some of their brightest and best football at Anfield,” he said. “I love the way they interchange passes and they always look as though the goals can come from any player and that is a very good sign.”
Editing by Toby Davis