Awoniyi reveals first five words Klopp said to him on arrival at Liverpool’s summer training camp

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Taiwo Awoniyi has endured something of a frustratingly nomadic career prior to his permanent £6.5m switch to Union Berlin in the Bundesliga, though couldn’t help but praise former boss Jurgen Klopp despite never making a proper senior appearance for his old side.

The Nigerian explained why he felt players were so enamoured with the talismanic German after spending some time training with Liverpool at their pre-season Austrian camp.

“He said ‘What took you so long?!'” the 24-year-old told Goal.

“To be honest, I have always been thinking about working with him.

“Even when I was at FSV Frankfurt [2015] and he had not signed for Liverpool yet, my team-mates there would always say that they wanted to play under him. 

“I was wondering why, really curious as to what he would be like. Then, when he signed for Liverpool, I was thinking ‘Wow! Maybe one day I will have my opportunity to meet him.’

“And the first time I met him, I realised everything they said about him was true; the smile, the passion, everything he brings to the game.

“Most important for me, though, is the way he manages people. I think that is what people love about him.”

With the forward setting the Bundesliga alight with nine goals in 15 top-flight games, it seems a shame that he was denied an opportunity to represent the red half of Merseyside in the famous red shirt.

READ MORE: Ex-Red Taiwo Awoniyi shares what blew him away at Liverpool’s Austria training camp

It’s quite remarkable how well-received Klopp is not only by those who have had the pleasure of being coached by the 54-year-old but also those who are on the outside looking in.

Once in a generation is certainly not a description being vaguely close to over the top when rating the former Borussia Dortmund manager’s ability and importance with regard to our modern renaissance.

It does, of course, mean that replacing Jurgen once his contract runs out in 2024 will be a mammoth task for the club and sporting director Julian Ward, though one we’ll be hopefully capable of handling thanks to our first-rate structure.

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