Rugby: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp credits All Blacks for English Premier League success

Liverpool football boss Jurgen Klopp has credited the All Blacks for helping turn the culture of his English Premier League club around.

Last week, 'The Reds' broke a 30-year title drought, capturing the championship crown with several games still remaining in the coronavirus-interrupted season.

Ironically, they broke records for being both the earliest (seven games in hand) and latest (June) champions in competition history. 

But in his fifth season with the club, Klopp has revealed how the NZ national rugby team - especially the haka - inspired his vision for the teams he has managed.

His admiration dates back to 2001, when he watched a documentary on the All Blacks during his term with Mainz in the German Budesliga, where he would reportedly have his players watch the pre-game challenge before leaving the dressing room.

He hasn't gone to those lengths at Liverpool, although the club has twice hosted the Kiwis rugby league side and many of his squad have witnessed their haka up close.

But the three-World Cup winners are obviously still uppermost in his mind, as he tries to raise his team even higher.

"As long as you wear this shirt, less than 100 percent is not allowed," he says. "It's not my phrase - it came from the All Blacks.

"I saw a nice documentary for the All Blacks and I kept that always for myself. I was completely impressed by these big fellas and how they spoke.

"They were amateurs... many they got a little bit of money, I don't know. They worked as butchers, builders.

"These guys, these pretty impressive guys just spoke about their past and what it meant to them to play for this team.

"That is for each LFC player and me the same. That is what we try to live."

Presumably, that documentary dated back to pre-professional days. Since the advent of Super Rugby in 1996, there would have been very few actual butchers and builders on the All Blacks roster, but the dedication to their craft remains the same.

With the silverware already in their grasp, Klopp faces the task of motivating his players to over the final four weeks of their campaign, which continues against vanquished champions Manchester City on Friday.

"Our challenge is now being champion and playing seven games against teams that fight for everything," he says.

"We can show we don't run because we have to, we run because we want to."

City are expected to pay tribute to their rivals with a guard of honour before the game.

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