Richard Buxton: Reds rocking to Juergen Klopp's heavy-metal rhythm
Midfielder Milner says Liverpool boss' intensity has rubbed off on the team
When heavy-metal lover Juergen Klopp first arrived at Anfield, he promised "heavy-metal football".
Nearly four years later, the German's intense personality has rubbed off on the whole squad as they became known for their high-octane style of play, said midfielder James Milner.
Liverpool's scintillating season - in which they achieved a club-record 97 points in their valiant yet ultimately unsuccessful attempt to overhaul reigning champions Manchester City - was a case in point.
An improbable four-goal turnaround against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals, achieved without Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, was another example.
''I think the intensity he manages with, that obviously goes through to the players,'' said Milner.
''He has high demands, which is obviously very important, and standards you have to set as a manager, but also then it filters down to the players and we have to meet those standards.
''As you've seen, the team have grown, as well as the players we've brought in.
''But the performance we put in against Barcelona in the second leg, with a couple of key players missing, I think that shows the job he's done as a manager - that you can miss two players like that and put in the performance we did.
''That's all credit to the squad of players we have right the way through, but also the job that he's done as manager that players can just fit in and you don't miss the star players that we were missing that night.''
Those with an inside glimpse of Klopp's methods are not surprised by the journey which has taken the Reds into a second consecutive Champions League final appearance on Sunday morning (Singapore time), a feat currently matched in Anfield history by Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan.
Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum revealed that Klopp makes his team train like they play - with full intensity.
''I think during the season, you learn. You get more experienced as a team. You get to know each other better,'' he said.
''But since I've been here, every season we improved with the way we were playing and I think the players improve because we train like (how) we play games.
''When we play the games, we make it as difficult as possible for the opponent. I think we've improved as a team year by year and I think that's the big difference.
''Of course, a lot of quality players that come in make the team better, so the players will get better again.''
The ability to handle the high intensity is again honed in door- die situations throughout the season.
Said Milner: ''It takes time to build any side. The signings we've brought in have obviously helped.
''But that length of time together, going through the experiences we've been through - to the Champions League final, to places like Bayern (Munich) and Barcelona, putting the points total on the board in the Premier League and playing in those high-pressure games where you need to get a result and managing to do that.
''I think all those things make better individuals, but also a better team when you go through it together.''
Besides having everyone on the same page, ready to rock to his rhythm, Klopp has also harmonised the team so well that even reserve goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who has seen little playing time, was lauded for his professionalism by Milner last month.
The English midfielder praised the Belgian goalkeeper for always pushing himself in training and, in the process, keeping first-choice goalkeeper Alisson on his toes.
Mignolet, who looks set to leave Anfield in the summer, told The New Paper: ''I think the spirit is really important in our group.
''It's just simply because we are a group of lads who work for each other and give the best for each other.
''We are like a family and you saw that also after the game against Barcelona, celebrating with the Kop.
''In that sense, we are a very strong unit and we'll need it again to win the final.''
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