Sunday 18 March 2018

Revealed: The secrets behind Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool

Peter Krawietz, one of the Liverpool manager's trusted advisers, on hard work and lots of laughs

Peter Krawietz at work at Melwood Photo: LIVERPOOL FC
Peter Krawietz at work at Melwood Photo: LIVERPOOL FC
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (C) looks on next to his assistants Peter Krawietz (L) and Zeljko Buvac during a training session at Melwood Photo: Getty
Peter Krawietz makes his point to Jurgen Klopp during a training session with Borussia Dortmund in 2014 Photo: Getty

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool's famed bootroom has become the Anfield beatroom.

"We are like a music band, each with their own instrument," says Jurgen Klopp's assistant coach, Peter Krawietz. "Jurgen is the band leader, and others are behind him playing the bass guitar or drum. I'm not sure which instrument is mine."

Klopp may be the charismatic frontman, but when he accepted the call from Fenway Sports Group he came as part of a trio. Long-term aides Krawietz and Bosnian Zeljko Buvac have been part of the ensemble since his first management job in Mainz.

It has been a while since Anfield's coaching unit followed the template of Bill Shankly, his celebrated think-tank of Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan mulling over opponents with a neat whisky.

Brendan Rodgers absorbed coaching responsibilities for three years and discarded his backroom staff when the pressure told. For Kenny Dalglish's second spell Steve Clarke and Kevin Keen were appointed independently. Not since Rafael Benitez arrived with Pako Ayestaran and Paco Herrera - a relationship which disintegrated in their third season on Merseyside - has Liverpool's management set-up been so harmonising.


When the idea of Klopp becoming English football's archetypal dictatorial boss is put to Krawietz there is a laugh. "Yes, yes. Say this. Put in Jurgen is a dictator!" he says, shaking his head before adding a clarifying "No, no, no."

"It is very collaborative how we work. A journalist in Germany said I was 'the eye' and Zeljko was 'the brain' and people repeat it. We could only laugh at this, see it as an invention and say 'So what is Jurgen?'

"We are all part of the team here but it is different in Germany to England. Here, as a manager, there are so many more tasks around the club so me and Zeljko try to help as much as we can."

With Klopp on lead vocals, Krawietz could be seen as a specialist in stage direction.

English dressing-rooms once hosted flying tea cups and hairdryers. Nowadays, half-time team talks are more likely to consist of video presentations - techniques imported to Anfield directly from Dortmund'

"In Mainz and Dortmund video analysis was my main task," says Krawietz. "Here it is different because we already have a department doing this and I try to prepare - filter information and prepare team meetings. Now we have the computer in the dressing-room on a match day, a projector and then the screen.

"A manager can explain a situation, ask the player about it and then we can show him. You've got it there to see it. It makes it easy for players to understand.

"Hopefully you correct the faults every time. I'm making the list during the game seeing what is important for us, working out if the problem is one scene or a trend - maybe a defensive problem or spaces we are not using, or the opponent has changed their set-up.

"It is very important to be able to react at half-time and show what we can do better. We also have the cameras outside on the training pitch to use if necessary."

Within the Anfield dressing-room, this brings logistical problems. Klopp and his coaching staff are liaising with the architects of Liverpool's new Main Stand to ensure the specifications are met when the players are relocated next season.

The relationship between Klopp and his most trusted advisers began at Mainz under the guidance of their former manager Wolfgang Frank, the coach Krawietz says had the most profound impact on Klopp.

"Wolfgang had an idea of football which was something like a revolution in Germany based on the Arrigo Sacchi style of pressing and defending," says Krawietz. "It was new in Germany to play in a back four and play this way. Mainz was the first to do it and the success was unbelievable. Many of the players he worked with are managers today.

"He was the first to take us into the top league. I began as a student in the University of Mainz and he worked with my professor. I became part of the scouting team. That's how I met Jurgen.

"I always saw the possibility of him becoming a manager. He was an important player for his team but not the best player, but he had the attitude, leadership skills and understanding of his game to know what he could and could not do.

"He was always thinking for the team. He was very interested in the tactics and it was clear he was an outstanding person."

After their success at Mainz and Dortmund, Klopp was determined to reunite his coaching set-up.

"He called me, he said there was the possibility of Liverpool and what did I think?" says Krawietz. "I was enjoying the sabbatical so it was surprising but I felt his conviction that Liverpool is the right place to go.

"I see similarities between Dortmund and Liverpool. When we came to Dortmund there were more difficulties but there was a big potential to improve. It is the same here. We see how we can develop and build on a good base for the future.


We're at a big club with huge support and the chance for development but it must be in small steps. We can't just push the button and say 'Here we are' and we know it will need hard work, but we're ready for it."

The public perception of Klopp in England is one of an entertainer, both in terms of how he wants his side to play and also how he projects himself in front of the camera. Those who know him best say there is no misrepresentation.

"I don't watch him on the television, but this is how Jurgen is," says Krawietz. "We are all hard-working men who are completely serious on the pitch and in our work, but we are also people who like to laugh. We think football is to be enjoyed." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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