Jurgen Klopp has hailed Arsene Wenger as an "outstanding personality" and a "big role model" after the veteran Arsenal boss announced he would stand down at the end of this season.
Wenger took charge of Arsenal in October 1996, with his three title-winning campaigns helping him to become one of the defining figures of the Premier League era.
The Gunners last won the top flight in 2003-04 and have faded from the title picture over recent seasons, with attendances dwindling at Emirates Stadium of late.
But Liverpool manager Klopp believes Wenger's legacy should stand untarnished.
"I heard it when I came in this morning. I was surprised but it's his decision and we have to respect that," he told a news conference ahead of the Reds' trip to West Brom on Saturday.
"In football he has had a fantastic career. He is an outstanding personality. Just a really big player in a business where thing usually change overnight – he was there for so long."
When a reporter confirmed Wenger's 22-year tenure, Klopp responded with a chuckle and said: "That's long. And he was very successful.
"Maybe in the last few months not everyone was happy anymore about this and that result, but that's a normal part of the business.
"He brought in some fantastic players and he was a dominating guy in the late 90s and early this century, when he was winning everything.
"I admire his work. In Germany he was always seen as a big role model. It's a bit different now in England because we are competing."
124 - Arsene Wenger has faced 124 different opponents as manager of Arsenal, but has only failed to beat 5 of those teams:
Fiorentina (P2 W0 D1 L1)
PAOK Salonika (P2 W0 D1 L1)
Paris Saint-Germain (P2 W0 D2 L0)
Port Vale (P2 W0 D2 L0)
Rotherham United (P1 W0 D1 L0)
Collection pic.twitter.com/iveoABXyzL — OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 20, 2018
In an interview with Sky Sport News in Germany this week, Klopp insisted he does not envisage being in the dugout into old age.
However, he would not be surprised to see the 68-year-old Wenger take on a new challenge.
"It will be interesting to see if he steps into a new job," he added. "He seems quite fit.
"I wish him all the best and hopefully I can meet him and tell him that in a personal talk."