Mats Hummels admits to following his former Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp from afar, with the Bayern Munich defender offering his support during a tough time for Liverpool.
The Reds have picked up just one victory in 2017, with that solitary success coming against League Two side Plymouth Argyle in a FA Cup third round replay.
Struggles in the Premier League have dashed title dreams at Anfield and dropped Klopp’s side out of the top four.
They have also been eliminated from both domestic cup competitions, with the sense of optimism which greeted the new year having evaporated in a little over a month.
Hummels feels for a manager he enjoyed considerable success with at Dortmund, and the Germany international keeps a close eye on how Klopp is faring in England.
The World Cup-winning centre-half told Goal when asked if he follows events on Merseyside: “I do a lot.
“I watch the games if I have the time - nearly every one.
“Of course it’s a pity for me that he is having such a bad period at the moment. They were eliminated from the FA Cup and League Cup.
“I’m supporting him and I wish him success. They are having a hard time at the moment.”
While an interested observer of how Liverpool are getting on, Bayern’s pursuit of another Bundesliga title is the main focus of Hummels’ attention.
He moved to the Allianz Arena last summer and admits that Carlo Ancelotti’s side are finding it tougher to exert their authority on domestic rivals this season than they did during Pep Guardiola’s three-year reign in Bavaria.
Hummels added: “I’ve not been here so I only observed it externally. Nevertheless, it’s true we are less dominant than Bayern have been in the last few years.
“But I think in general across Europe, you see many teams having these problems. There is not a single team playing well all of the time.
“Maybe it’s the case this year that the supposed smaller teams are even stronger and are making it more difficult for the giants.
“The Bundesliga table is strange if you compare it to the pre-season expectations.”