Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren has lifted the lid on the small but key changes Jurgen Klopp made when he first arrived at the club in 2015, which the Croatian centre-back suggests crucially instilled a level of respect among the players that isn’t always present at other clubs.
Lovren is one of the few players left from the squad that Klopp inherited from predecessor Brendan Rodgers and remembers how the German insisted upon things that were as simple as players greeting each other and staff every morning, as well as clearing up after themselves.
Although Lovren is adamant that he himself is old enough to know to clean his table in the Melwood canteen, the suggestion is that Klopp wanted to ensure players do not take even simple things for granted. That respect and humility then translates into hard work elsewhere.
It sounds easy on the face of it, but that kind of attitude can sometimes be overlooked in the modern game, and Liverpool are reaping the benefits to Klopp’s attention to detail.
“He changed things in the club, from small details like saying, ‘Good morning’ to everyone cleaning your table,” Lovren said, as quoted by the Daily Telegraph.
“I was raised to clean my table. He didn't have to tell me. I think some part of these details are missing in some clubs. It is about respect. When you have this outside of the pitch you will feel it also on the pitch. It is simple things.”
Another key moment in Klopp’s early Liverpool days came he announced to the media that his intention was to go from ‘doubters to believers’. Lovren remembers that as being vital, as it changed the mentality and set the target much higher.
Unbeaten in the Premier League this season and with a six point cushion over reigning champions Manchester City in the current table, Liverpool will return to action when Tottenham visit Anfield on Sunday, in what is a repeat of last season’s Champions League final.