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Featured Image Credit: Bundesliga/YouTube
Jurgen Klopp will go down in history as one of the all-time great managers – a man that helped reinvigorate and re-energise a declining Liverpool side to its former glory. But what about his playing days?
Back in 2016, during an episode of Monday Night Football, the charismatic German admitted he was "very average" throughout a playing career that included spells at FC Pforzheim, Eintracht Frankfurt II and FSV Mainz 05.
“I was very average," he said. "I was really quick and a good header but that was it. Unfortunately, the ball spent most of the time on the ground and that was not my biggest strength."
Klopp added: “I loved the game too much to stop playing, which would not have been too bad for most of my teams I played in.
“I enjoyed playing very much but I was not very good, that’s how it is.”
The former right-back, who scored 52 goals in 325 games for Mainz during an 11 year spell, went on to claim that he would not have made it into his Liverpool team.
"One of the best things I did as manager... my first decision was to play the day before and then I said I didn't want to play anymore'. And that helped my team a lot!"
But what he selling himself short that day? Well, a clip of Klopp's greatest goals on the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel suggests he was more than just "average."
Make sure to check out the final goal – an absolute peach after coming on as a substitute against SV Meppen.
The above video has picked up over 8.3 million views down the years, with thousands of fans expressing their surprise in the comments section.
One fan wrote: "I was expecting to see him play with his glasses," while another said: "It's so weird watching Jürgen as a player."
A third commented: "Klopp looks like a guy who was not supremely talented in anything but is extremely professional and makes it happen through sheer hard work and determination. He has my utmost respect for doing that."
Oh, and this Thierry Henry-like goal didn't even feature in the top 5 list.
Jurgen Klopp or Thierry Henry?! 😳👏— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) June 10, 2020
An incredible solo goal from the Liverpool boss in his Mainz days! 🙌
Unearthed gold. pic.twitter.com/FBTiBNTVk3
Klopp admits that he was not the most talented player in the world, but he certainly made up for that with a good understanding of the game.
"I never succeeded in bringing to the field what was going on in my brain," he said. "I had the talent for the fifth division, and the mind for the Bundesliga. The result was a career in the second division."
Mainz has a special place in the German's heart. In fact, he has always maintained that winning promotion with the club in 2004 will always be his biggest achievement.
"Obviously, it's a great thing to win the Champions League, but my greatest success as a coach was promotion to the Bundesliga with Mainz in 2004," Klopp said back in 2019.
"We had a small squad, strong opponents. What I did with Mainz cannot be topped."
QUALITY: Jurgen Klopp's reaction to hearing that Bayern had lost at home to Mainz 05. pic.twitter.com/DRzMKwBG9e— Football Tweets (@FutballTweets) March 3, 2016