Jurgen Klopp looked to a famous sporting figure outside of football to speak to the Liverpool squad in pre-season during the summer.
As reported by James Pearce for The Athletic, the Reds manager enlisted Olympic gold medal-winning triathlete Jan Frodeno (also a three-time Ironman World Championship winner) for a talk with his players in July.
The German-born athlete spoke to the squad about the dedication which is needed to remain at the top of any sport for a prolonged period of time and the mental resilience required to keep going when the body is pushed to its limits and fatigue begins to kick in.
It was mentioned in the report that the Liverpool players ‘appreciated’ the messages which were communicated by Frodeno during the 10-day training camp in Germany.
This isn’t the first time that Klopp has used pre-season to draft in a motivational speaker with a non-footballing background in the pursuit of marginal gains.
In the summer of 2019, when the Reds were preparing in France for the forthcoming campaign, German surfer Sebastian Steudtner spoke to the players about how to cope with pressure and worked on breathing techniques during an underwater exercise.
In his book about Liverpool’s 2019/20 Premier League-winning season, Andy Robertson referenced how the guest speaker ultimately helped the squad to dig deeper in matches when it felt like their bodies were trying to tell them to stop.
If Frodeno’s words can have a similar impact to those of Steudtner, it should stand Klopp’s men in great stead, considering what they went on to achieve at the turn of the decade.
A fresh voice delivering a powerful message can have a seismic impact on a group of people, and in an environment as high-stakes and competitive as the Premier League, any marginal gain which can raise performance levels even by a couple of percent could make a massive difference in the final reckoning.