'He's the manager, but behaves like any member of the team' - Adrian's tribute to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp

The Anfield giants can break a host of records this season under Klopp's tactical masterplan

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With records tumbling and Liverpool within reach of an historic Premier League crown, goalkeeper Adrian has paid tribute to the man who has masterminded the club’s unparalleled ascent.

The Anfield club enjoy a 22-point lead at the top of the standings, the largest-ever margin at the summit of England’s head division, at any time. They could wrap up the race for the title with seven games to spare, the earliest of any Premier League champion.

They play with vim, vigour and are backed by a vociferous support, as they attempt to secure a 19th top-flight trophy, and first in three decades, and start the final stage of their league campaign at Norwich on Saturday after the midwinter break.

Little wonder, then, that Adrian attributes the success to a manager who seems to have carved a team in his mirror image.

"What Jurgen has achieved here is extraordinary," said the Spaniard. "Just look how we are in the league. It is so easy working with him. So easy. He's always smiling, cheerful, optimistic. He's the manager, but he behaves like any other member of the team.

"Him being close to us helps us believe in his methods. He's convinced us all of his leadership and abilities by being close to us and proving that whatever is on his mind works in the end."

Klopp is not simply a master motivator, though, but a talented tactician too.

"Klopp usually tells us that we'll face many problems during the games, so we must be able to fix them," Adrian said in an interview with the BBC Sport website. "Any team can surprise you with a new system, for example. He's there to guide us. He visualises football very well from the sidelines and transmits this knowledge to the players in a masterful way.

"Training sessions are intense. He does his job passionately and that's exactly how we perform on the pitch. Jurgen is not only a top strategist, but also a great person. The best group management I've seen. Next to the team through thick and thin."

Klopp brought Adrian to Anfield days before the Premier League kicked off last August. He had not featured at all for West Ham United through the entire previous campaign and was subsequently released, but with a back-up to first-choice goalkeeper Alisson required, Liverpool plumped for him – much to people’s surprise.

It was even more of a shock when Alisson picked up an injury late in the first-half of the league opener against Norwich City. So Adrian was handed his debut four days after joining the club on a free transfer. His new team ran out 4-1 winners.

Five days later, he played a major part in Liverpool’s Uefa Super Cup triumph against league rivals Chelsea in Istanbul. First, Adrian conceded a penalty in extra-time, which Jorginho converted to tie the score.

But the recent recruit atoned quickly, saving from Tammy Abraham, the decisive spot-kick in the shootout. It represented a remarkable return to the spotlight.

"I'd made a drastic decision not to stay any longer at West Ham, despite having a three-year contract offer on the table," Adrian said. "I hadn't played a single game all season in the Premier League. I didn't feel valued economically either, to be honest. It was tough for me.

"Summer came and then I felt those butterflies in my stomach. I knew something good was coming. I was already aware of Liverpool's interest before I received the first offers.

"They called me at the end of July. They said that they'd sell [Simon] Mignolet if I gave the deal the green light. That's how it happened."

Not that he imagined his debut would come around so fast.

"It was a moment I was hungrily waiting for. Not so soon, though," Adrian said. "Fortunately, I was both mentally and physically ready. I had to see it that way. It's never pretty when a teammate gets injured, but only one of us can play.

"Alisson is peaceful, humble and deserves every single thing he has achieved. We spend so much time together, but still I'm here to fight. I won't just sit down on the bench and wait.

"He won the [Uefa] Champions League and the Copa America last year. He was the best 'keeper in the world. But he can't relax with me around. I've proved it."