In Shankly's footsteps
McAllister says Klopp's work with Reds reminds him of Kop legend
An air of optimism permeates through Anfield.
In Juergen Klopp, Liverpool have found the spark that spreads hope.
His infectious personality has transformed a club bruised and battered by repeated Premier League disappointments.
Klopp-mania is in full swing,
So influential has the German manager been since he took up the post a year ago that ex-Liverpool midfielder Gary McAllister can already see similarities between Klopp and a revered Kop figure.
"The obvious one, for me, is a famous Scottish manager we had in the past, Bill Shankly," former Scotland international McAllister told The New Paper in an interview yesterday when asked who Klopp reminds him of.
Bill Shankly's statue greets fans at Anfield. PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES
The 51-year-old McAllister is an ambassador for LFC World presented by Standard Chartered Bank located at Suntec City Mall - an immersive fan experience that aims to bring Liverpool closer to their fans around the world.
"It's that sort of enthusiasm and intensity when he speaks, just the faith and the passion in his voice...
"When you watch him during a game, you can see his enthusiasm and intensity.
"It shows what it means to him to win a football match.
"He kicks every ball, he plays every pass, the emotion is great.
"The fans obviously love it at Anfield.
"You know, to Liverpool fans, he has become a hero already, even though it has only been one season."
The Liverpool mascot greeting Ian Rush, Gary McAllister and Luis Garcia at the LFC World at Suntec City. TNP PHOTO: CHOO CHWEE HUA
The late Shankly transformed the Merseyside club from a mid-table second-tier side to a domestic and European force during his 15 years in charge from 1959 to 1974.
His work paved the way for unprecedented success at the club during the 70s and 80s, during which the Reds won four European Cups and a string of First Division crowns.
Like Shankly, Klopp is on a mission to lift Liverpool from the doldrums.
But, only slightly over a year after his appointment, the Reds are now quietly dreaming of a first top-flight title since their last triumph in 1990.
Ten matches into the Premier League season, they are third on the table with 23 points, behind Manchester City and Arsenal only on goal difference.
Said McAllister, who played for the club from 2000 to 2002 and won the Uefa Cup, FA Cup and League Cup Treble with Liverpool in 2001: "Everybody who is associated with Liverpool is tempted to steer away from saying that we can go on and win the league. It's about being humble and focused.
"But, normally, after 10 games, where you are on the table generally represents where you will be competing at the end of the season.
"We are definitely going to be competing in the top four the whole season.
"As for whether we can go all the way, you can never say never.
"I'm sure confidence is extremely high at the moment.
"Having won the league with Leeds United (in 1992), I know it's an old cliche to say take each game as it comes, but that's what we will have to try and do, to take each game individually and see where you end up."
A trademark of Klopp's reign at Liverpool has been the high-intensity pressing that starts with the first whistle.
Critics have pointed out that it is impossible to sustain that level of physical exertion throughout an entire season.
Former Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson also pointed to fatigue as the reason for Liverpool's collapse in the second half of their Europa League final defeat by Sevilla towards the end of last term.
But McAllister believes that the lack of European football this season and a deep, talented squad will count in Liverpool's favour.
He said: "The beauty is that we don't have any European football.
"There will be ample opportunities to get rest in between, when other teams are travelling all over Europe to play in the Champions League and the Europa League. So, I think that will help.
"We also have a very talented squad. It's not just the starting 11. There are a lot of players itching to get a game."
McAllister also sees similarities between the title challenge of Leeds in 1992 and the Reds' charge under Klopp in this campaign.
Asked what was the vital ingredient that spurred his side on back then, he said: "It's that belief and togetherness.
"You have seen in all the games, the connection between the manager and the fans and the city.
"There's a buzz in the town at the moment. It can only be good for Liverpool."
While Klopp carries out his work on the pitch, McAllister works as an ambassador for Liverpool these days.
Together with another two former Liverpool players Ian Rush and Luis Garcia, the trio are in Singapore to promote LFC World presented by Standard Chartered Bank until Sunday.
The event features a mini museum, interactive games such as Robokeeper - the fastest electronic goalkeeper - games stations from Konami and a replica press conference area.
This is a great set-up," said McAllister. "You walk through the Shankly Gates, you feel like you are close to The Kop.
"It's excellent. I really love it."
Standard Chartered clients can look forward to getting up close and personal with the Liverpool FC legends, with priority access to autograph sessions held until Sunday. There will also be opportunities to win all-expenses-paid trips to Anfield and player-autographed merchandise. For more information on LFC World, visit: www.liverpoolfc.com/lfcworld
We are definitely going to be competing in the top four the whole season. As for whether we can go all the way, you can never say never.
— Gary McAllister on Liverpool’s title chances