Exclusive: Alan Kennedy on Jurgen Klopp, Luis Diaz and Champions League final

Exclusive: Alan Kennedy on Jurgen Klopp, Luis Diaz and Champions League final

Former Liverpool player Alan Kennedy has spoken exclusively to Anfield Watch about the Champions League final against Real Madrid, Luis Diaz, Jurgen Klopp and more, courtesy of 101greatgoals.com.

Kennedy is one of the Liverpool greats, playing 359 games for the Reds.

The Englishman won five League titles, four League Cups and two European Cups during his time with Liverpool.

In our exclusive interview with Kennedy, he compared Klopp's side to the teams he played for, Liverpool's newest signing Luis Diaz and more.

Where does this team rank alongside those you played for?

"I think this could be the best ever Liverpool team.

"They are playing as good a football as I've ever seen. I played with the likes of Graeme Souness and Kenny Dalglish who were incredible and should go down in history for how they drove the team on and achieved what they achieved. But this team, wow. They are phenomenal.

"It's funny really. Klopp likes to play a consistent eleven and it's near-identical to how Bob Paisley and Bill Shankly before him wanted to.

"They do have a different system to how we played. We were generally 4-4-2 but had Terry McDermott getting in the box. We scored half of our goals through the midfield, generally Dalglish and David Johnson or Ian Rush who were scoring, but we had a fair smattering from the midfield.

"Eight or nine each from the likes of Jimmy Case, Ray Kennedy, Souness or McDermott, we'd always get them.

"This team is right up there with them. I just hope they take it all in. It's been 40 years since I played there, but you never know in football, it could be another 40 before you win a major trophy again. Enjoy the moment and enjoy the atmosphere.

"I'd tell these players you've got a great manager, great teammates but nothing lasts forever, so please just enjoy it and make the most of it. We're hearing rumours some players could be leaving soon, and you think to yourself, why? I don't think there's any better club in all the leagues in the world."

How impressed have you been with Luis Diaz?

"I reckon he has been one of Liverpool's best ever signings. Really, Really pleased with him. He's been a revelation, can play anywhere up front.

"Doesn't need to be on the left, even though majority of time he's played there, but I just think unbelievable, and I really enjoy watching him play and score goals."

Do you see Jurgen Klopp in the managers you worked with?

"Bob Paisley was very quiet. Bob didn't like the limelight and didn't like saying things - he liked doing things. Jurgen is very open, a player's man - that's not to say Shankly or Paisley weren't that, but they understood it was about the club and team first.

"No individual would ever be praised, it was always 'well done team'. Nowadays, it seems you have to put an arm around some players as you have bigger squads. We had a squad of 14 players, and we only used 11 or 12 of them, now you're looking at 25 or so.

"Jurgen and Pep (Guardiola) are the two best managers in the world for me. They're all very similar. They want to play football, have control of the ball and have it in play, they want to do the right thing and I've been so impressed with them.

"I hope Liverpool has another couple of years of success, but eventually, it will be dismantled to be rebuilt again. Every team comes to an end of a generation and that's what separates the good managers from the greats - the ability to plan for the next team while managing the current setup.

"I remember in 1981 after the European Cup final, they changed the whole setup. Out went Ray Clemence, in came (Bruce) Grobbelaar. Out went Phil Thompson, in came Mark Lawrenson. Ronnie Whelan came in for Ray Kennedy, Jimmy Case was in for Sammy Lee.

"The point is, it’s the quality of the players you have to replace and what you have to look at. I thought Paisley was so, so good at sussing out the types of players you needed and when you needed them in.

"It's the same for Klopp. He's brought (Diogo) Jota in, Diaz, players can adapt and play the way he wants them to. It's good for the club that Jurgen will be here for a few more years."

The third final between Liverpool and Real Madrid - Liverpool out for revenge for 2018, will they get it?

"I must admit I was really impressed by Real Madrid against Manchester City. I thought they played a really attacking game, put them under pressure, made them make mistakes and consequently they got their reward.

"Whether they can do that against Liverpool remains to be seen. But I just love the way Liverpool have been playing, I love the way players have fitted into positions, whether it's the left-hand side of midfield with Diaz or (Sadio) Mane playing down the middle or (Mohamed) Salah coming in, I love the way they work as a team and break teams down.

"It was tough last week against a good, organised Spurs team. But they kept going, kept pushing and they got their reward in the end. Fair enough, they didn't get the win, but you never know that point could be the difference in the title race.

"Liverpool is up there right now as one of the best teams we've ever seen."

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