Skrtel hails Klopp as best coach in the world & names his toughest opponent

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool 2019-20

Martin Skrtel has opened up on his time in the Premier League with Liverpool, describing Jurgen Klopp as the best coach in the world and Didier Drogba as the toughest opponent he's ever faced.

Skrtel joined the Reds from Zenit Saint Petersburg in 2008 and went on to make 320 appearances across all competitions for the club, scoring 17 goals.

The 35-year-old featured in 22 matches during Klopp's first season at Anfield, but ended up joining Fenerbahce for £5 million in the summer of 2016.

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The Slovakian only played under Klopp for a few months, but the ex-Borussia Dortmund tactician left a huge impression on the centre-back.

Skrtel says Liverpool's best players are all prepared to fight for their "special manager", which he highlights as the main reason behind the club's recent success.

"Liverpool has the best coach in the world and the best players in their respective positions which include [Mohamed] Salah, [Sadio] Mane and [Virgil] van Dijk," Skrtel told Turkish publication AA.

"These are special players, and beyond that, they are the type of players that fight with their all for the club. When talented players put their all on the pitch, success follows and this makes Liverpool special. 

"Klopp is a very special manager and he's a master at motivating people. He always demands 100 per cent from his players. His matchday meetings and style of speaking are very special.

"But he especially talks positively to his players after games, describing the mistakes they made without hurting their feelings. These details make him who he is. This is why players want to give their all for Klopp."

When pressed on who is the better manager between Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, Skrtel responded: "Well, I'm a Liverpool fan so my choice is Klopp."

A League Cup winners' medal was all Skrtel left Anfield with but he was part of a squad which came close to Premier League glory while also competing in the Champions League.

The veteran defender came up against some of the world's finest players in domestic and European competition, including ex-Chelsea striker Drogba, whom he admits was "very difficult to defend against".

"Who was the most difficult player I ever faced? It would be wrong to point out a single one but I have played against the likes of [Karim] Benzema, [Cristiano] Ronaldo, Drogba and [Wayne] Rooney," Skrtel added.

"But I must say that I played against Drogba when he was in his prime. It was very difficult to defend against Drogba due to his speed, strength and stamina as well as his instincts in the box."

Liverpool are due back in Premier League action on Saturday evening, with a tough trip to north London to take on Mourinho's Tottenham on the cards.

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