Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp explains why he’s a ‘tracksuit manager’ compared to ‘best dressed’ rival Pep Guardiola on touchline
The effable German is characterised by his usual dressed-down casual attire on the sidelines, prefering to wear a club tracksuit with baseball cap in contrast to the more sophisticated or corporate stylings of many of his peers.
When approached on the matter, Klopp explained that he never had the chance to get used to anything other than casual clothes given his rapid transition from player to manager.
He told the Guardian: “I was a player and the next day I was the manager. In my locker room was the tracksuit of the guy who had the job two days before. It didn’t even fit me.”
“I was just focused on the game. I never thought about how I look.”
The no frills, fuss-free Liverpool boss, who was the principal mastermind who had steered his side to within just two points of the Premier League title before the lockdown, admitted though that there was a brief time he tried to smarten up when he was at Borussia Dortmund.
“I know it’s not too cool because we are working in public, but then when I came to Borussia Dortmund I thought: ‘Maybe I have to change’ ”, he added.
“I went for a while wearing jeans and a shirt. But I just didn’t feel comfortable. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad for you.”
Although Klopp and Guardiola have been locking horns at the summit of the Premier League for the past couple of seasons, the Reds boss admitted there’s only one winner in the fashion stakes.
“I think the best-dressed manager is Pep Guardiola,” he said. “Everything he wears looks exactly right for him. He doesn’t wear a suit, just casual stuff.
“Be yourself as a coach. If you want to look great, then wonderful. I’m just not made for this.
“It’s important you do what is right for you because whatever role model you have, you can never do the same things. I like when you see the soul or character of the coach in the team.
“Guardiola again – you see a team and think: ‘Wow, that’s either Guardiola or somebody who worked with him.’ But you can never be exactly the same.
“But don’t worry: you can be world champion in a suit or a tracksuit. You just have to be comfortable,” he concluded.
So although there’s some semblance of truth in the maxim that ‘clothes do make a man’, there’s also a lot to be said for the other one that says ‘do not judge a book by its cover’.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to different strokes for different folks.