Ex-Red praises Jurgen Klopp for 'doing great things with African players'

With Jurgen Klopp's tenure at Liverpool winding down, former Reds forward El-Hadji Diouf has commended the German manager for the significant impact he has had on African football.

Arriving in 2015, Klopp's reign saw Liverpool reclaim their spot among Europe's elite, clinching the coveted Champions League trophy in 2019 and ending a 30-year wait for the Premier League title the following season.

African players have been a key part of Liverpool's success

Overall, the former Borussia Dortmund manager, who is set to bid farewell after just two more games at Anfield, has steered Liverpool to seven major trophies.

Central to Klopp's success has been his astute signings, particularly those from the African continent, according to Diouf.

When Klopp's tenure reached its peak, players like Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Joel Matip and Naby Keita were all part of the Reds' squad.

Sadio Mane credits Klopp for his success

Mane, in particular, emerged as one of Klopp's best early signings, joining from Southampton in 2016 and becoming a key figure alongside Salah and Roberto Firmino in Liverpool's attack.

Despite departing for Bayern Munich in 2022 after a prolific spell at Anfield, Mane's admiration for Klopp's leadership and personality has been revealed by his compatriot Diouf.

Speaking to rg.org, Diouf said, "I don’t really know [Klopp] personally, but I'm very close to Sadio Mane, and Sadio tells me that [Klopp] is a great guy

"He's the reason he had a very successful time at Liverpool."

Diouf continued, highlighting Klopp's positive influence on African players, saying, "He's done great things for most of the African players."

"The Premier League is the best in the world. I was lucky to play there, and if today we get the chance to have a lot of African players, it will be great for the African game.”

Liverpool FC v Atletico Madrid: Group B - UEFA Champions League Jurgen Klopp head coach of Liverpool gives instructions to Sadio Mane during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Liverpool FC and Atletico Madrid at Anfield on November 3, 2021 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. Liverpool England PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxFRA Copyright: xJosexBretonx breton-liverpoo211103_np1SY

Diouf endured heavy criticism during his own stint at Liverpool from 2002 to 2004. He was signed for a club-record fee, arriving as Africa's Player of the Year after helping Senegal reach the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup.

But after scoring two goals on his Anfield debut against Southampton, Diouf couldn't live up to the early excitement. He netted just three league goals all season in 2002/03 — a pitiful return for such a big-money signing.

Following disciplinary problems and infamous spitting incidents, Diouf went out on loan to Sam Allardyce's Bolton Wanderers before a permanent deal was agreed one year later.

But despite the bad blood, Diouf expressed his hope for a perfect send-off for Klopp, a man he believes has made a big impact on African football.

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