Last Updated: 14/08/19 12:37pm
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp wore Cristiano Ronaldo-branded pants to a team meeting ahead of the 2018 Champions League final against Real Madrid, according to Georginio Wijnaldum.
The pressure was on the Liverpool players as they prepared for their first Champions League final since 2007 and Wijnaldum revealed the German had a unique way of relieving them of their tension.
Klopp decided to wear a pair of Ronaldo-branded underpants before the showdown in Kiev, leaving them in fits of laughter.
“We saw he was wearing the boxer shorts of Cristiano Ronaldo,” the Dutchman told The Athletic. “He did the meeting with his shirt stuffed inside his ‘CR7’ boxers. The whole changing room was on the floor laughing their heads off.
“That really broke the ice. Usually, in those situations, everyone is serious and concentrated. But he was relaxed and made this joke.
“He’s done hundreds of jokes like that. If you see that your manager is really confident and relaxed, it will have an effect on players. He is a father figure in those things for the players. With his jokes and his body language, he takes the pressure off players.”
Liverpool went on to lose the final 3-1 to Real Madrid that year after Loris Karius’ blunder and a Gareth Bale wonder-goal, but they eventually claimed European glory when they beat Tottenham 2-0 in the 2019 final.
Klopp is a huge character in the Premier League and has transformed the Reds under his guidance as a manager, but Wijnaldum explained he can confide in him as a friend too.
He added: “When I have problems I can always go to the manager. I can text him a few days before and ask if he has a minute for me. He is always curious about what it is. ‘Is it something bad, good? What is it?’
“He always tries to empathise with the other person, to feel what they’re going through. He is a really special man for me. I see him as more than a manager – a really good friend.
“Everyone asks me how he is as a person. ‘Is it fake what he does on the sidelines?’ No, that is how he is. Even in training he is the same. That’s how he is.”
Liverpool take on Chelsea in Wednesday night’s UEFA Super Cup as they look to win a second piece of European silverware in three months.