‘He is one of the most influential coaches in the history of the game’: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hails impact of legendary AC Milan coach Arrigo Sacchi, and says he ‘completely changed how we think about football’
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has heaped praise on legendary AC Milan boss Arrigo Sacchi and says the Italian has heavily influenced the way he looks at the game.
Klopp is an incredible coach in his own right, having led Liverpool to Premier League and Champions League success in his time at Anfield, but when looking back at his own heroes the German was quick to land on Sacchi.
Speaking to Jamie Carragher in the ‘The Greatest Games’ series, serialised by The Telegraph, Klopp said: ‘Sacchi completely changed how we think about football. He is one of the most influential coaches in the history of the game and a complete game-changer for me.
Jurgen Klopp was asked who he thinks is the most influential coach in the history of football
The Liverpool boss says Arrigo Sacchi completely changed the way we look at football
‘Because of him we had to judge the size of the pitch in a new way. I am sure you remember playing with man-marking tactics where you pretty much followed the opponent you were marking to the toilet. The pitch always felt incredibly big.
‘Nobody played a high line because many teams played the libero. Before him I was told who to mark and that was it. Too often the team with the better individuals won the game because it was all one-versus-one challenges all over the pitch, so if the other player was better than you, how could you win?
‘Sacchi’s organisation made it completely different. I did not learn it from Sacchi, but it was my manager at Mainz, Wolfgang Frank, who brought it to us, which meant as a player I watched five hundred videos of AC Milan. I saw how whenever Franco Baresi raised his arms to play offside, everyone else in the team was waiting.
Sacchi (second left) helped AC Milan to back-to-back European Cup titles in the 80s and 90s
Sacchi looks on during his role as Italian Football Youth Coordinator at Coverciano back in 2011
‘Ball orientated defending became a real tool, and of course on top of that Milan were a sensational team with Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and Baresi. They were some of the best players ever.’
Sacchi’s famous AC Milan side of the late 1980s found success in Serie A in 1988, before going on to win the European Cup in back-to-back seasons after that.
Klopp also mentioned Wolfgang Frank, his Mainz manager during his playing days, and the Liverpool boss has also previously labelled him his biggest influence.
In the book ‘Klopp: Bring the Noise’, the Liverpool boss told Raphael Honigstein: ‘I have told more than a thousand players that Wolfgang influenced a whole generation of footballers and still continues to do so.
‘He is the coach who has influenced me most. He was an extraordinary human being.’