Ian Ayre has hailed Jürgen Klopp as the right man to help Liverpool fulfil their ambitious aims following the German's appointment as the club's new manager.
The 48-year-old's arrival at Anfield was announced on Thursday, with fans delighted by the acquisition of one of European football's most sought-after coaches.
And chief executive officer Ayre was equally pleased to have secured the signature of the two-time Bundesliga winner, who he believes is the perfect fit for the Reds.
Ian, a big day in the history of Liverpool Football Club with the appointment of Jürgen Klopp as manager. Why was he the right man for LFC?
When we set out to find a replacement for Brendan, it was important we found somebody that fitted the bill completely. We met as a group – the owners and myself – and talked about the attributes we would want in the next Liverpool manager and all of the ambition and things we want to achieve as a club. His name rose to the top in terms of the attributes he has and what we believe he can bring, and the sort of person he is. Having got all of those boxes ticked, it was then about getting Jürgen and I’m pleased to say we achieved that.
What does securing the services of a manager of his stature say about the ambition of the ownership group?
The ownership group have continued to show ambition, in the investment they made in the club initially, the investment they have made in the team, the continued support across the whole business and the new Main Stand. This is just another indication of that. When we set about looking for the right solution for a new manager, ambition was right at the top, and I would say Jürgen is right at the top of his game. So it fits well. His personality fits very much with this club, this city and our fans. That combination shows that the owners set an ambition to get their man and achieved it.
Jürgen and his philosophies are well known and respected throughout world football. Do you think this could further enhance the football club globally?
I would hope so. His philosophies and culture, both as a person and a football person, mirror very much with Liverpool Football Club. I think that makes for a great marriage in many ways. Just like any relationship, it was important we felt and he felt there was a real connection – that was extremely evident when we met with him. It was so evident that he had that feeling and love and connection with Liverpool. That’ll bode well for the club and also for him in attaching himself and being part of a great club.
He has spoken previously about his admiration for Liverpool. Was that a key factor?
Very much so. When we started the dialogue with him, it was interesting going through the process that one of the comments he made was that this was the job that would bring him out of his sabbatical – there was no other job that would bring him out of his sabbatical. So we made the call at the right time and got the right result.
He has cut that sabbatical short, so what does that say about his commitment?
It says a lot about his commitment and also about his desire to be a part of what we’re doing here and what this club represents. We all know from working at the club and travelling around the world with the club the effect it has all over the world. Jürgen echoed some of that. He said he’d watched Liverpool since he was a boy, he’d followed the club and always had this kind of connection with the club, he felt. This opportunity presented to him was a sort of dream come true. And that worked both ways – for us to sit with him and hear his vision for the club and the commitment he wanted to bring to the club was fantastic. When you put those two things together, hopefully you get a great result.
He had a very special connection with the fans at his previous football club. A lot of people have talked about the similarities between Liverpool and Dortmund – is he someone who you think can inspire the fans as well as the players?
Very much so. As we know, Liverpool fans have had a great admiration and connection with managers throughout the years at this football club. I think the personality Jürgen has will only come across when he gets into the job and is in and around the club and around our fans at home and away games. What they’ll see is his passion for the game, his passion for everything he does in football, and I think that’s something that Liverpool fans will warm to very quickly. He’s an extremely gregarious individual, very lively, and a great person to spend time with I found in the short time I got with him. He’s very infectious and I think that will rub off, and likewise the other way, I think he’s very much looking forward to being around Liverpool and Liverpool fans.
The fans are excited by this appointment but will Jürgen need time to fully implement his vision and his philosophy?
Of course. Any plan has a period of preparation, a period of implementation, and that will all take time. But he comes here with his eyes wide open, he knows our squad, he’s talked about the players - he talked about certain players in that group that he tried to sign himself as a manager at times. So he’s very aware of the tools he has to work with at this stage and he’s very keen to get going. If we look at his philosophy and the way his teams play, of course that will take a little bit of time to instil. Hopefully that happens sooner rather than later so that everybody sees it but we’re very pleased with his appointment, we’re very pleased with his objectives for the club and his ambitions, and I think the fans will be very excited to see it start to unfold.
Finally then, how excited are you about the future of this football club with Jürgen Klopp at the helm?
Very much so. We always say that we have great ambition at the club and it’s always about continually improving, and in Jürgen we definitely feel that he’s somebody who can take us forward. The ambition for the owners and the ambition for myself and everybody at the club remains the same as it has always been, which is to be the best we can be and be at the top of English and European football. And that's a vision he shares and I'm certainly very excited about that opportunity to work with him and take the club forward.