Joey Barton once labelled Jurgen Klopp a ‘giant German cheerleader’… now he reckons the Liverpool boss could b

Joey Barton once labelled Jurgen Klopp a ‘giant German cheerleader’… now he reckons the Liverpool boss could b

Joey Barton has admitted he was wrong about Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, saying the German coach could be the club’s new Bill Shankly.

The former Manchester City midfielder – and boyhood Evertonian – had been a vocal critic of the Reds boss during his early days at Anfield.

During his time as a pundit on talkSPORT Barton branded Klopp a ‘giant German cheerleader’, insisted he was no super coach and claimed Liverpool were regressing under his leadership.

Fast-forward two years, though, and Liverpool are the reigning champions of Europe, came within a point of the Premier League title last season and currently lead the top flight table by six points.

Joey Barton was no fan of Jurgen Klopp during his early Liverpool days, but has since changed his tune

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Joey Barton was no fan of Jurgen Klopp during his early Liverpool days, but has since changed his tune

And that lead over Man City could be stretched to nine on Sunday when the rivals meet at Anfield – where the Blues have not won since 2003.

Barton joined Friday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast to look ahead to the title showdown, and he conceded Klopp has proven him wrong, big time.

And he even claimed the German coach ‘has a Shankly feel’ about him having ‘lifted the whole city’, just as the famous Scot did during his celebrated Reds reign.

“I don’t think Liverpool back in the day [during his playing career] were anywhere near as strong as they are now with the fans and the belief,” Fleetwood Town boss Barton said.

“I’ve been critical of Jurgen Klopp, certainly when I was working for talkSPORT, I didn’t feel they were learning lessons.

“But I think they are the most improved team and his is the most improved coach in the last three years.

Bill Shankly led Liverpool to promotion to the First Division, three league championships and the UEFA Cup, laying the foundations for successors Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan who then won seven league titles and four European Cups in the ten seasons after Shankly’s retirement in 1974

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Bill Shankly led Liverpool to promotion to the First Division, three league championships and the UEFA Cup, laying the foundations for successors Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan who then won seven league titles and four European Cups in the ten seasons after Shankly’s retirement in 1974

“He has that, I dare say, Shankly feel to him.

“He has lifted the whole city and Liverpool really firmly believe.

“I live in the city and I’m just hoping Everton can get on the coat tails and latch onto that energy to improve themselves.”


Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT. Tune in from 11am to listen to Laura Woods’ exclusive interview with Jordan Henderson, ahead of our three live Premier League commentaries

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