Jurgen Klopp says he would never compare himself with Liverpool legends Kenny Dalglish and Bill Shankly, despite winning the Premier League and Champions League.

Liverpool ended their three-decade wait for top-flight silverware last week, a little over a year on from being crowned champions of Europe for a sixth time.

Klopp is only the third manager in the club's history to win both trophies in their various guises, alongside Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan, with Dalglish and Shankly unable to achieve the feat.

However, ex-Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp - who also won the Club World Cup in December - insists he is not interested in comparisons with two of the club's all-time greats.

"I'm rather surprised to be honest," Klopp told Sky Sports. "The reasons why Kenny [didn't win] I know, but with Bill I don't know exactly why he couldn't win it.

"But it is not important. I would never compare myself with them. Nobody should do that actually. It was different times, building a club and carrying a club.

"It's a big achievement, I know that. I know how we did it, pretty much because of all the hard work people put in at Melwood and the passion that people showed for this club.

"It's never easy, it was not easy this time but it makes it much more valuable, worthy and emotional."

Like Klopp, Jordan Henderson has also written his name in Anfield folklore by joining Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson and Graeme Souness in captaining Liverpool to both major honours.

Henderson succeeded Steven Gerrard as skipper in 2015 and has proved his critics wrong with his performances over the past couple of seasons, much to Klopp's delight.

"I couldn't be more happy for him to be honest," the German said.

"If we speak about people carrying expectation around with them, Hendo could and should probably write a book about it and how he deals with that because it was massive when I came in here.

"I felt it pretty early, that it is really difficult to do his job. How people saw him as a player... thank God we all knew what kind of player he really is and together we could make that obvious.

"Now he is probably in the best place ever, in a good shape of course. Not only at the moment but this is of course the big one.

"I can't wait for him to be sitting in a TV studio two or three years after his career has finished, talking about Trent Alexander-Arnold and the other guys and telling them what is right and wrong!

"That will be good fun for sure."

Premier League champions Liverpool will emerge at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday to a guard of honour from previous title-holders Manchester City.

It will be the latest episode in the captivating rivalry between Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.

We run the rule over two men whose tactical approaches and high levels of achievement have – and it does not feel too grandiose to suggest this – changed football in the 21st century, as well as one another.

THE BUNDESLIGA YEARS

Guardiola's arrival to take the reins of a treble-winning Bayern for 2013-14 came shortly after their rivalry with Klopp's Dortmund reached its peak.

Arjen Robben's 89th-minute winner saw Bayern down BVB 2-1 in the 2013 Champions League final at Wembley – a game played out against a backdrop of Dortmund's star playmaker Mario Gotze agreeing terms to move to Bavaria.

In hindsight, Klopp's gegenpressing machine – winners of back-to-back Bundesliga crowns in 2010-11 and 2011-12 – were coming off the top of their curve, having finished 25 points behind a relentless Bayern domestically that season.

The decline continued over the next two seasons. Dortmund were remarkably in relegation trouble halfway through 2014-15, before a post-Christmas recovery preceded Klopp's emotional farewell.

Nevertheless, there was still time for telling blows to be landed. Guardiola's first competitive game in charge saw Bayern beaten 4-2 in the 2013 DFL-Supercup at a delirious Signal Iduna Park.

Stung by that loss, Guardiola sprung a notable surprise in the first league encounter between the sides that November, where he broke Dortmund's rabid press by playing Javi Martinez as an attacking midfielder and repeatedly targeting the rangy Spain international with long balls.

The high priest of tiki-taka (a label Guardiola famously loathes) had presided over "more long balls than in the last three years combined" from a Bayern team, according to Klopp, who bristled after Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller added to Gotze's inevitable second-half opener in a 3-0 win.

A depleted Munich were similarly reactive when they won the DFB-Pokal final 2-0 in extra-time, even if flooding midfield numbers was a more recognisably Guardiola tactic.

Diverting from his dizzying 4-3-3 of swirling triangles has remained something the Catalan tactician has frequently done across his meetings with Klopp, and not always with the success he enjoyed in Germany.

HOLLOW VICTORIES AND THE PHONEY WAR

Klopp ended his homeland head-to-head against Guardiola with three victories, making it back-to-back Supercup triumphs in 2014, having claimed a 3-0 Bundesliga result at Allianz Arena earlier that year – the authority of which was dimmed by the fact Bayern had already cantered to the title.

Guardiola had four victories to his name, with one draw ultimately falling in Dortmund's favour as Bayern failed with all four of their penalty attempts in a 2015 DFB-Pokal semi-final shoot-out.

However, Klopp was denied a glorious farewell as his team lost in the final to Wolfsburg and the fact Robert Lewandowski had followed Gotze to Munich by this point underlined a deck stacked against him.

Liverpool came calling for Klopp in October 2015 and he helmed helter-skelter runs to the EFL Cup and Europa League finals. Manchester City and Sevilla prevailed respectively.

That was Manuel Pellegrini's final honour as City boss as he made way for Guardiola, who collected a third successive Bundesliga title in 2015-16. Thomas Tuchel's Dortmund finished closer in terms of position and points (second, 10 behind) than Klopp's version had managed when in direct competition.

With the stage presumably set for renewed hostilities between Guardiola and incoming Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho, the similarly newly installed Antonio Conte did not read the script as Chelsea romped to 2016-17 Premier League glory.

Klopp got the better of his head-to-heads with City as a Georginio Wijnaldum goal sealed a 1-0 New Year's Eve win at Anfield before Sergio Aguero rescued a point for the hosts in the return game.

Guardiola laid it on thick after that 1-1 draw, declaring it to be "one of the most special days of my life".

"He is Spanish. They are a little bit more emotional than the Germans," Klopp chuckled in response.

TON-UP BUT NOT INVINCIBLE AND THE ROAD TO KIEV

Liverpool beat City three times in 2017-18, when most other teams could barely lay a glove on Guardiola's record-breaking side.

But the game where City prevailed, an unusual 5-0 thrashing at the Etihad Stadium where Liverpool subsided meekly after Sadio Mane's red card for clattering Ederson with a high boot, arguably had the biggest influence on the campaign.

When that game was 11 v 11, Guardiola's back three was horribly exposed. Aguero's opener arrived against the run of play, with an unusually wasteful Mohamed Salah having tormented Nicolas Otamendi.

City never used 3-5-2 in the league again that season, reverting to a swashbuckling 4-3-3 that churned out 19 consecutive wins and made the second half of the schedule a virtual procession.

Liverpool halted their designs on invincibility however, claiming a raucous 4-3 Anfield win in January. Klopp hailed "pressing from another planet" by his front three as Roberto Firmino, Mane and Salah were all on target in a euphoric nine-minute spell after half-time.

Guardiola had again seen a swift avalanche of goals bring the roof in during a big match and his tweak to a 4-4-2 diamond, eyeing avenues around those Liverpool pressing lanes, backfired in that season's Champions League quarter-final.

A 3-0 first-leg loss at Anfield, with all the goals arriving during the first half, left City with a mountain to climb and a death-or-glory approach in the return fixture – deploying a formation probably best described as 3-CHARGE!!! – eventually ran out of steam in a 2-1 loss.

But it was Liverpool who came up short in the Kiev final on Loris Karius' nightmare outing against Real Madrid, while City sauntered to a 100-point haul as dominant Premier League champions. Sitting 25 points back in fourth, the Reds had a considerable gap to bridge.

CHASING PERFECTION

Despite that deficit, their efforts in going blow-for-blow with City over 90-minute periods left the impression Liverpool were the best placed of the pretenders to overthrow the champions.

Both teams reconvened on Merseyside undefeated in October 2018 and remained that way as the free-flowing nature of recent meetings gave way to a cagey 0-0 draw.

Reprising the theme of those early Klassiker meetings, Guardiola took his foot off the throttle as City played at a controlled tempo – an approach that would have ended the club's Anfield hoodoo but for Riyad Mahrez's ballooned late penalty.

Fire and brimstone returned the following January, though, with a wobbling City recovering their poise and avoiding a 10-point deficit at the top. Aguero and Leroy Sane were on target either side of Firmino in a bravura display, where Aymeric Laporte took on the unfamiliar role of left-back to stifle Salah.

That was Liverpool's only loss of the season as they finished on 97 points, agonisingly one shy of City. However, their subsequent Champions League final win over Tottenham improbably propelled them further along.

Just as Guardiola has tempered some of his more cavalier tendencies when faced with Klopp, the challenge of an unrelenting City also forced the Liverpool boss into subtle and decisive tweaks.

In bringing in Alisson and Virgil van Dijk, he spent big for what many see as the finest goalkeeper and centre-back on the planet. Their very presence means risk can be reduced.

Heavy metal football has given way to a steady pulsing beat that never wavers. In the city of Merseybeat, Klopp has gone electro.

Amid their steamrollering of the opposition this season, Liverpool have 19 wins by a solitary goal in all competitions. They are frighteningly and ruthlessly clinical. A profligate City trail in their wake, although Guardiola has used this relative freedom from pressure to thumb intriguingly through his tactical playbook in 2020.

Both men have inspired the other to reach beyond their comfort zones and the result is the two best teams in world football. With Klopp contracted to Liverpool until 2024 and Guardiola talking up an extended stay, the thought occurs that they are each other's motivation for sticking around. There is nowhere better to measure their greatness than against one another.

Ilkay Gundogan believes the success of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp is down to their personalities.

The Germany midfielder was Guardiola's first signing in June 2016 when he joined City from Borussia Dortmund.

It was at Dortmund that Gundogan made his name and became a key player under Klopp, helping the club to a Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double in the 2011-12 season.

With experience of playing under both managers the 29-year-old reckons they are both men with a great deal of character.

When asked what made the pair so special, Gundogan said: "That is a question that everybody asks me to be honest! Both are amazing managers, there is no doubt about that.

"If you are a great manager you have to have a great personality. This is something they definitely have in common.

"When it comes to the game they both focus on different things. Pep is maybe more about positions, dominating the ball while Jurgen is maybe more like winning the ball and trying to score goals as quick as possible with high intensity. 

"I just think they are great human beings and the football world should be grateful that we have these two personalities."

City's defeat to Chelsea last week saw Liverpool secure the Premier League title with seven games remaining, taking the trophy off Guardiola's side.

The two sides meet at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday with City's players poised to give Liverpool a guard of honour before kick-off.

Gundogan acknowledged Klopp has played a pivotal role in Liverpool ending their 30-year wait for the league, and is thankful he has benefited from his compatriot's coaching skills as well as Guardiola's.

"I feel privileged to have worked with Jurgen but also to be with Pep now," added Gundogan.

"It was such an amazing time with Klopp at Dortmund and such a successful time as well, I learnt so much from him. 

"It is still also such a great time here at Manchester City with Pep. I appreciate every training session, every moment that I can enjoy the game. 

"I am grateful and thankful for both, because they taught me so much. I don’t think there is any player who has had the opportunity to work with both so I feel lucky."

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says the timing has never been right for Bayern Munich to make a move for Jurgen Klopp.

Klopp last week celebrated masterminding Liverpool's first Premier League title triumph, having won the Club World Cup in December and the Champions League last season.

Bayern chief executive Rummenigge has spoken of his admiration for the charismatic 53-year-old, who the Bundesliga champions did battle with many times during his tenure as Borussia Dortmund boss.

He told Sport Bild: "I bow and say: Congratulations to Liverpool!

"Jurgen Klopp is a great coach and a very respectful person, he does not put himself above of others or talk about what a great guy he is. He is, but he does not emphasise it."

Rummenigge suggested Klopp may well have been in charge of Bayern if he was not under contract when the Bavarian giants have been in the market for a new head coach.

He added: "Whenever we've been looking for a coach, Jurgen was always under contract.

"But let's not forget that we have been blessed with other top coaches in recent years: Jupp Heynckes, Pep Guardiola, Louis van Gaal and now also Hansi Flick.

"When you're looking for a coach, the timing must be right."

Klopp is contracted to Liverpool until 2024, while Bayern head coach Flick signed a deal until 2023 after a hugely successful interim spell in charge. 

Jurgen Klopp has done "exceptional work" in leading Liverpool to the Premier League title, according to Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick.

The Reds' first domestic championship in 30 years was confirmed on Thursday when Manchester City's 2-1 loss to Chelsea left Liverpool with an unassailable 23-point lead with seven games remaining.

It represents Klopp's third top-flight title in his coaching career after he led Borussia Dortmund to back-to-back championships in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

Bayern have won each of the eight titles since and Flick – the man who guided them to their most recent one this season – is full of admiration for Klopp's work on Merseyside.

"We know each other and it is completely normal that you congratulate one another," said Flick

"He has done exceptional work at Liverpool. It's great to see. Not only the way they play football, but also the way in which he mobilised the whole club and the fans with his style. He caused a lot of emotions.

"It's a shame, just like for us, that the fans could not be part of it like they used to.

"It will go down in history, but it is something that we must deal with during this corona[virus]-time. Nevertheless, we are both very happy that we could win the title."

Klopp was appointed Liverpool boss in October 2015, four months after departing Dortmund.

He steered the Reds to a Champions League final in 2018 and though they lost to Real Madrid on that occasion, Klopp delivered the club's sixth European Cup last year following a victory over Tottenham in Madrid.

They came up short in the 2018-19 Premier League title race – finishing second to Manchester City despite accruing 97 points – but this time Klopp's men could not be stopped.

Bayer Leverkusen boss Peter Bosz believes the Liverpool hierarchy deserve praise for giving Klopp time to build something special.

"If he came from the Bundesliga or not – it's just amazing what he has achieved at Liverpool," Bosz said.

"They won the league for the first time in 30 years and won the Champions League last season.

"I think the most important thing is that the club gave him time. I think it's his fourth [full] season there now. He got the time to build a team.

"So if you work with a structure at a big club – and that was Liverpool before he got there – you can do great things."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer congratulated Liverpool on their Premier League title triumph, but he does not expect Jurgen Klopp's men to reign supreme for an extended period like Manchester United did under Alex Ferguson.

Liverpool's first top-flight title since 1990 was secured on Thursday, when second-placed Manchester City suffered a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea to leave them 23 points adrift of the Reds with seven games remaining.

Ferguson ended a 26-year wait for United when he led them to the Premier League title in 1992-93, which proved to be the first in a run of 13 championship successes in 21 seasons.

Solskjaer believes Liverpool deserved to finish top of the pile this term and that his players can learn from them, but he thinks it will be tricky for Klopp to establish a dynasty and an era of dominance in the Premier League.

"Well first of all any team that wins the Premier League deserves it and they deserve credit. It's a hard league to win so well done to Jurgen and his players," Solskjaer told a news conference to preview United's FA Cup quarter-final against Norwich City.

"For me, it's every time you see anyone else lift a trophy it hurts. So that's I reckon the feeling of everyone associated with Man United. Of course, we want to get back to winning ways and that's our challenge.

"Obviously, the run of titles we won under Sir Alex, I don't think that's going to be easy for anyone to emulate and copy.

"I think Sir Alex was a master of staying at the top, so for me our challenge is to make sure it doesn't go say 26 years until the next time we win it, or even more.

"We're going to do everything we can to shorten the distance or maybe even go past them."

Asked about the gap between Liverpool and United, he said: "I don't think it's time to say, or right to say, exactly how far you are behind. Of course, we are in a position now that we have to improve.

"We have to get into the Champions League, higher up in the league and start challenging for trophies. And that consistency and efficiency that they [Liverpool] have shown, that's a challenge for us as well.

"We know at our best we are very, very good and we have to do that whatever day it is. We've got to do it again and again. That's the challenge for our players going forward."

Jurgen Klopp says it is "rather quiet" at Liverpool in terms of pursuing transfer targets, as he labelled Timo Werner and Kai Havertz "great" players.

Liverpool have been heavily linked with RB Leipzig striker Werner and Bayer Leverkusen attacking midfielder Havertz over recent months.

But reports have suggested they will miss out on both stars, with Werner close to joining Chelsea and Havertz said to be in line for a move to Bayern Munich.

Liverpool manager Klopp was happy to acknowledge the quality of his compatriots in an appearance on Sky Germany.

But he explained the coronavirus crisis is giving the Premier League leaders pause before making any big financial commitments.

"There are a lot of good players on this planet," Klopp said. "Timo Werner is a great player, Kai Havertz is a great player.

"Right time, opportunity – everything has to come together. Six, seven weeks ago, we didn't know if we could play again this year.

"If we hadn't played the second half of the season, we would have thought, 'Okay, when can you really play football again?'. And now it starts right away.

"We act as if everything is already settled. It's not settled. We use this little loophole we've been left to play football again. 

"Everything else we have to see the moment it happens. We can't pretend now that everything's going to be fine in the future."

Discussing the impact on football finances, Klopp added: "There are all sorts of rumours in England about who Manchester United are going to pick, Chelsea are going to pick.

"It's rather quiet here [at Liverpool] at the moment, I think it's safe to say. 

"If you want to take it seriously, run a normal business and depend on income, you have no idea how much you will earn – especially because we don't know when we can start playing with spectators again.

"At the moment, all clubs are losing money. Without spectators, we have to pay back the season tickets and probably sell none next year. At least maybe without the first 10 or 15 games.

"The VIP areas won't be packed and the tickets won't be sold. This will have an impact on other partners and things will look a bit different.

"Discussing with the players about things like salary waivers and on the other hand buying a player for £50-60million, we have to explain."

Jurgen Klopp was pictured heading into Liverpool's Melwood facility donning a face covering as the Reds prepared to resume training.

The runaway Premier League leaders are to recommence small group sessions on Wednesday as the top flight in England steps up preparations towards a potential June return amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Liverpool posted a picture of boss Klopp alongside his assistant Pep Lijnders, with the German seen covering his face while entering the building.

Prior to the suspension of the Premier League in March due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Liverpool were 25 points clear of second-place Manchester City.

Speaking on Tuesday, Klopp said he was "over the moon" about the prospect of Liverpool returning to training and said he wants his team to be prepared for the challenge of winning the two matches they need to be crowned champions.

"When we start, it goes really again for everything. The competition will make the intensity," he said.

"So, it's not about, 'Oh, Liverpool have to win two games'. By the way, we have to win two games when we start – it's not 'only two', it's two. It's not less or more.

"We have to win them, it's not that we want to win the last two or whatever and come through somehow.

"We want to play the best possible football, better than other teams fighting for the Champions League, fighting to stay in the league.

"We have to do it, unfortunately, without the best boost in the world and the best kick in your a** in the right moment in the world, from the Anfield crowd."

Sessions are to be non-contact and staggered throughout the day to ensure the Premier League's Return to Training Protocol is adhered to.

Midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum said he is itching to get going.

"I'm really looking forward to that because we all love football, we all love to play football, so we want to play as much as we can," he told Liverpool's official website.

"Also, the moment and the situation we were in was quite good, so it was really hard for us [professionally] that it stopped immediately after the game against Atletico Madrid [where Liverpool were knocked out of the Champions League].

"In two months we didn't do something and we are happy that we can start again."

Jurgen Klopp guiding Liverpool to a drought-ending Premier League title has the potential to be his finest achievement, according to former Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Mitch Langerak.

Liverpool were on the cusp of claiming their first league crown since 1990 before the coronavirus pandemic suspended the Premier League in March – Klopp's side 25 points clear atop the table.

Klopp has already delivered a Champions League trophy to Anfield following last season's triumph as well as UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup silverware, having won back-to-back Bundesliga titles during his time at Dortmund.

But asked if leading Liverpool back to the top of English football would be Klopp's finest achievement, Langerak told Stats Perform: "Potentially, because the Premier League is hard to win. It's not just Dortmund/Bayern Munich or Dortmund/Bayer Leverkusen battling it out. The Premier League you probably have three to four or five teams that could win it. So maybe it would be his finest achievement.

"However, obviously winning the first Bundesliga that we won in Dortmund was huge. Then to go back-to-back, win the cup that year doing the double. That was a huge, huge thing, with such a young and relatively unknown squad. There were a lot of players many people didn't know, they brought [Shinji] Kagawa from Japan's second league and came in straight away first game and killed it.

"He did some amazing things with a lot of players who had just come in. I think he has a lot of achievements, so potentially you could say the Liverpool one would be his finest."

Langerak was plucked from Australian side Melbourne Victory as a 21-year-old in 2010, immediately thrust into the first team by Klopp.

During his five years at Dortmund, Langerak was involved in back-to-back Bundesliga triumphs, to go with two DFL-Supercup titles and DFB-Pokal glory, while Klopp's side – boasting the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Ilkay Gundogan – also reached the 2013 Champions League final.

The Australia international knows the charismatic Klopp better than most and he said of the German: "It feels like he's always on in his head. He is never not 100 per cent in his mind, in his thinking, in what he's doing. You'll never catch him off guard. For example, he will never be stumped or not sure what to do, or not sure how to speak or what to say. He's that sharp and that sort of flows onto the team.

"He's full power, so everything in training is 100 per cent and when we were at Dortmund, it might've changed now, but with him there was no GPS or radar saying you're hitting your upper threshold today. It was all his feeling. For example, when I first arrived, I didn't know what a training camp was because I hadn't been on one with Melbourne Victory. We turned up and my agents were saying 'oh wait for the training camp, wait for the training camp'. I'm like what's with the training camp? I thought we'd just go and do a bit of training. We were doing three sessions a day, then the next day we'd have a double, then the next day we'd have training in the morning, a 'friendly' game at 4pm that afternoon but a friendly game with Dortmund is in front of 30,000 people.

"The next day you'd have a double, a triple. So you're up at 7 in the morning. You'd do lactate testing, so they would know if you're in the fast group of five players or next group. You'd do 5km or 6km in 1km time-trials and you just have to keep your pace. The boys would be blowing, they'd be wrecked. That was at 7am in the morning before breakfast. You'd go back to the hotel, have a quick bite to eat, you'd get showered and changed and then you'd go training. You'd do a proper, proper training session. Go back, have lunch, maybe sleep for an hour and you're back at 4pm for the third session of the day. This is day one of training camp, Day two could be a double, day three is training and then at 4pm a friendly game in a stadium live on TV in front of 30-40,000 people.

"It's actually so nuts but it wasn't like 'oh he needs to have a rest today, he's 32, he's coming back from injury so he needs to have a light one today'. It was none of that, if you train, you train. That was the biggest thing for me. It was just like, obviously after seven days of training you're a bit sore, bit tight maybe we should have an easy session. Nah, you learn to just get on with things and grind it out.

"Some of the training sessions were intense but then when he could see the players getting tired, he was like 'that's it we're finished for today, come back tomorrow and we'll smash it again'. I think that with a lot of young, hungry players it worked really well. He was obviously the alpha, the boss. You can see that within the whole club – he was the one in charge and everyone had so much respect for him."

"That was the most crazy thing, you'd have all the sports scientists saying you should do this, do that," the 31-year-old Langerak continued. "I think was rooming with [Mario] Gotze at the time and I remember asking, do we have breakfast? Do we eat before we go running like sprinting? What do we do? 'Nah, nah, you just wake up and we just jump on the bus and go'. I was like wow okay.

"A lot of the sessions were really hard, especially in pre-season and that built the foundations for a lot of success for the team because we were always much fitter. Even for the goalkeepers, the training but was brutal. There were times you just couldn't move anymore because you're up and down, diving, doing shooting sessions for an hour, 20 minutes. The number one [Roman] Weidenfeller was getting through it and so me as a 21-year-old, what am I gonna say? I'm doing the same, I can't say I'm a bit sore."

Langerak, who now plays for J1League outfit Nagoya Grampus, added: "Another layer of that, he was absolutely the nicest guy you'll meet. He can talk about anything and he would talk to you about anything. He would come up to you and have a chat about your family or about your friends in Australia.

"There were times I had friends come from Australia and after the game we would be in the family room and I'd introduce them to the coach. He'd be chatting to them, speaking English, making them feel like the most important person in the stadium. That's the type of character he was and somebody you'd never not give 100 per cent or do something dodgy because everyone has so much respect for him."

Common Goal reached a milestone on Tuesday – 150 players or managers signed up to the charity movement.

Manchester City and Scotland star Caroline Weir made the pledge to commit one per cent of her income to sporting charities.

Led by Manchester United's Juan Mata and Street Football World, Common Goal was launched in 2017 – a project used to fund charities across the globe, which has raised more than €2million.

Mata, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, Bayern Munich forward Serge Gnabry, Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini and Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels are among the high-profile footballers to have joined the cause, while Danish outfit FC Nordsjaelland are the first professional club involved.

But it is the women – the likes of Weir, United States female stars Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe – female leadership and the new generation, led by 16-year-old Real Madrid youth-team player Bruno Iglesias and Wolfsburg's Xaver Schlager, shining through.

And while Common Goal has come a long way since its launch, the organisation is not resting on its laurels as it tackles the "greatest social challenges of our time" and eyes a collective effort.

"We reached 150 and it's a female, a 24-year-old, playing for Manchester City, she already has more than 70 caps for her country, she is doing her degree, she is a very smart woman, an extraordinary footballer," Ben Miller, one of the founding team of Common Goal, told Stats Perform. "It's very significant but again it's a woman or the female leadership that's shining through Common Goal.

"There's a huge diversity of players in this team of professionals and it's really reflective of football. Yes, Chiellini, Hummels, Gnabry and Klopp are there, and Casey Stoney, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe but there's players from second and third divisions and that's what it's like.

"Football is like a triangle, not many are at the top of it. Interestingly in the female membership, most of the women are at the top of their profession, at the top of the triangle. If you look at the male membership, there are a significant number of high-profile players who have shown a great deal of faith in the model.

"If we work as a team, we can actually have a significant contribution to making the world a better place through football itself, with a mechanism which is transparent and high-impact and aligned to the UN sustainable development goal, so it has a clear track towards 2030. We're all very ambitious to see this work but we have a way to go before we reach a tipping point, where it really becomes a normal thing to do if you're an athlete."

"To start with a single player, and now it's 150, yes, it's amazing," he added. "But, one per cent of what the football industry generated last year would be €400million and there are a lot of football players. I'm happy but we have to continue to grow this and explain how simple it is. It's not one thing or the other. The way this will work is the power of the collective. I'm happy but we still have a long way to go and I think these landmarks are important because they give us a boost to keep going.

At a time of crisis as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc globally, Common Goal has set up the COVID-19 Response Fund – supported by the UEFA Foundation for Children.

"It's not reinventing the wheel, it's using the existing network of football-based community projects that are in the heart of the communities that will be hardest hit by COVID-19," Miller said. "Caroline Weir for example, her donation will go towards the response fund. Existing members, who are coming up to the end of the year and will do another donation, they can choose to put that in the COVID-19 fund as well. You don't have to be a Common Goal member to participate, anyone can donate.

"The idea is to give immediate response but to give the mid- to long-term support that the organisations will need to re-establish themselves. All the programs are on hold, people need access to food and medicine, survival basics… help empower the young boys and girls."

Common Goal, though, is not without its challenges amid cynicism and a lack of trust within the football world towards charity organisations. Klopp made the pledge in front of a star-studded crowd during The Best FIFA Football Awards in September. However, no one made contact or wanted to find out about Common Goal following the announcement in Milan.

But with 90 per cent of donations going directly to charities, compared to 50 per cent in a lot of cases with other charities, Miller has faith in what Common Goal is building, thanks to its members – with several players donating significantly more than one per cent.

"You have a 16-year-old kid [Iglesias], who has made the decision, not to wait until he gets in Real Madrid's first team and the senior Spain team but he is going to do it now. He is going to make this part of his journey, no matter where he goes," Miller continued.

"This just gives me an incredible amount of faith in the future, that this new, younger generation of players who are embracing this from the word go. They're not going to wait until they reach a certain level and allow people to make these kinds of decisions for them. Because making this decision is a fundamental part of who they are as a human being."

Miller added: "It's the first time in our lifetime that a crisis that's happening in the real world has actually penetrated the bubble of elite football players. They've never been affected by anything before. The ones that are in touch are still in touch of what's happening – they're aware that there are 70 million displaced people because of the refugee crisis. But a lot simply aren't and it's not a criticism to them, it's just the world in which they live, it's very insular.

"We're all in the same boat. We're all the same – that's the fundamental message. If I don't care about you, you don't care about me, we don't care about what's happening in Australia, Spain or the UK, then we don't stand much of a chance of tackling any of the crises we face."

Timo Werner does not have a shortage of suitors.

The RB Leipzig forward and Germany international is reportedly wanted in his homeland, England, Spain and Italy.

However, Werner reportedly only has his eyes on one team in the Premier League.

 

TOP STORY – WERNER WANTS TO JOIN LIVERPOOL

Timo Werner is not interested in joining Bayern Munich as the RB Leipzig star wants to team up with Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, according to BILD.

Werner is wanted by Bundesliga champions Bayern, who have targeted the Germany international previously.

But Werner – also linked to Barcelona, Manchester United and Inter – is prioritising a Liverpool transfer.

ROUND-UP

United have offered Jadon Sancho the famous number seven jersey as they try to prise the Borussia Dortmund sensation to Old Trafford, reports The Mirror. Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid have also been linked to the England international.

- Calciomercato says Juventus and Barca are continuing to negotiate a deal that would see Miralem Pjanic and Arthur swap clubs.

Barca and Manchester City are in advanced talks over a swap deal. SPORT says the two clubs are close to reaching an agreement that would see Nelson Semedo join City, with Joao Cancelo moving in the opposite direction.

Milan are dreaming of signing Brescia star Sandro Tonali, according to Calciomercato. With Lucas Biglia and Giacomo Bonaventura set to leave, the Rossoneri are eyeing Tonali – who has been linked to the likes of Barca, United, City, Juve and Inter. Rennes midfielder and Madrid target Eduardo Camavinga and Arsenal's Lucas Torreira are also on the list.

- Will Lautaro Martinez make the move to Barca? SportMediaset claims Inter want €90million plus two players – Arturo Vidal permanently and Antoine Griezmann on loan.

Ciro Immobile compared Lazio head coach Simone Inzaghi to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, while the Italy star revealed his Napoli dream.

Inzaghi's Lazio were only a point behind defending champions and leaders Juventus through 26 games when Serie A was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lazio have also tasted Coppa Italia (2019) and Supercoppa Italiana (2017 and 2019) success under Inzaghi, who was appointed in 2016.

Immobile worked with Klopp during the pair's time together at Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund in 2014-15 and the Lazio striker heaped praise on the German and Inzaghi.

"Klopp is a great expert in football and I always said that I'd have liked to work with him when I was in my best form. He is a complete coach, he has everything," Immobile said on Instagram Live chat with Er Faina.

"Having said that, he really reminds me of Simone Inzaghi, as they are very similar in their motivational skills, albeit in slightly different ways."

Immobile had scored an incredible 27 Serie A goals this season when the campaign was postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis.

With 12 games left to play, Immobile is nearing Gonzalo Higuain's record of 36 goals in a single Serie A season, set with Napoli in 2015-16.

Immobile has flourished since returning to Italy via Lazio in 2016 and the 30-year-old addressed previous links to hometown club Napoli and Liverpool as he addressed his future.

"I was close to Napoli and it's true that I did hope to one day play for them, but I am so happy here that after arriving at Lazio, I stopped thinking about it," Immobile said.

"I don't know if I'll end my career here. Perhaps by the time I am 33, Lazio will be so successful that they need more important players than me. I don't like to be a burden on anyone. I'll keep giving my all for this jersey as long as I can.

"Inzaghi is certainly the coach I got along best with. We had that brief discussion when I reacted angrily to a substitution, but he dealt with it the right way. I know him and he knows me."

Liverpool "hit the jackpot" when they hired Jurgen Klopp as manager, according to former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas.

Klopp arrived at Anfield in the 2015-16 season and led the club to the finals of the EFL Cup and Europa League, both of which ended in defeats.

Another painful loss followed in the 2017-18 Champions League final, but 12 months later Liverpool beat Tottenham to be crowned champions of Europe for a sixth time.

Liverpool finished runners-up to Manchester City in the Premier League last year and were 25 points clear of Pep Guardiola's men this time around when the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fabregas, a World Cup winner with Spain in 2010, likes what he has seen of the Reds under the amiable German.

Responding to a question on a Twitter Q&A, Fabregas wrote: "[Liverpool are an] outstanding club that hit the jackpot hiring Klopp and giving him the right players and time to build something very special."

Monaco midfielder Fabregas answered several questions, including one about which coach has taught him the most during his career.

"Really taught me in different moments and for different reasons (not only footballing)... I would say Wenger and Conte," he answered. 

"Arsene technically and Conte mentally and he also made a player that I didn't know I could be."

Fabregas also named Thierry Henry, Lionel Messi, Eden Hazard and Radamel Falcao as the best players he has played with at Arsenal, Barcelona, Chelsea and Monaco respectively.

Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool's players reacted with shock when informed Kenny Dalglish had tested positive for coronavirus and expressed relief the Reds legend has since returned home from hospital.

Dalglish tested positive on Wednesday while attending hospital for treatment on gallstones but was discharged on Saturday after showing no symptoms of COVID-19.

The news of Dalglish's test had an emotional impact on the current Liverpool squad according to Klopp, who said the situation was discussed in a group on the WhatsApp messaging platform.

"It was a real shock three days ago when I heard about it first," Klopp told Liverpool's official website.

"The boys were sent a message in our WhatsApp group and everybody was like, 'wow'.

"What you feel in that moment is a massive difference if you know somebody who got the virus, or if you don't know.

"In this moment, it was like, 'wow, one of us has it' and it was really crazy."

Dalglish arrived at Liverpool as a player in 1977 and won six league titles and three European Cups during a spell that saw him become player-manager from 1985 until 1990.

Klopp indicated the closeness between his players and Dalglish, saying: "We all know this terrible disease is causing heartache all over the world, but this was the first time for many of us someone we have such a personal connection to was affected to this extent.

"I had the opportunity to text immediately with one of his daughters and we spoke about it. She was quite, not relaxed, but she was fine and said it looked all well – and two days later we heard he was released from hospital.

"It's good news – very good news – and I hope he is doing well still.

"We all know Kenny and we love him. We just sent him all our thoughts and prayers in that moment, but maybe he didn't need it, which is even better."

As Jurgen Klopp waits for Liverpool's 2019-20 Premier League coronation, he might look back fondly on this day in 2012 when he was nudging ever closer to glory with Borussia Dortmund.

BVB were also involved in a major news story exactly five years later, when their players were stunned by a bomb attack on their team bus before a Champions League game.

Phil Mickelson landed his first major golf title at the Masters in 2004, and a South African cricket great's downfall came on this day in 2000.

Here we look back here at standout sporting moments to have occurred on April 11 through the years.

 

2000 - Disgraced Cronje loses South Africa captaincy

Hansie Cronje was one of South Africa's greatest cricketers, and one of the country's most popular figures. His life unravelled in 2000, however, as it emerged that he had been corrupt.

He was stripped of the South Africa captaincy on April 11, 2000, within days of the first claims emerging, initially from India.

Cronje initially denied wrongdoing, but he later came clean, revealing the depths of his match-fixing dishonesty.

He was banned from cricket for life and died in a plane crash in June 2002. Cronje, nevertheless, is still fondly remembered by many in South Africa.

2004 - Mickelson's Masters

'Lefty' had been a leading contender for major glory for many years, and had been racking up second-placed and third-placed finishes, so it was high time he made a breakthrough.

At the age of 33, it finally came when the American landed a first Green Jacket, fending off Ernie Els by one shot at The Masters.

It was the first of three Augusta triumphs to date for Mickelson, whose third also came on April 11 in 2010, when a closing 67 saw Mickelson overtake 54-hole leader Lee Westwood to win by three.

2012 - Klopp's Dortmund pip Bayern to move to Bundesliga brink

This was Klopp's golden age at Dortmund, as BVB backed up their 2010-11 Bundesliga title campaign with what would be a double-winning season.

A 1-0 victory over Bayern Munich on April 11 was a pivotal moment, as it saw Dortmund pull six points clear of the Bavarians at the top of the table.

The only goal came in the second half with a neat backheel from Robert Lewandowski, who two years later would join Bayern in a stunning snatch for Die Roten.

Bayern, bossed by Jupp Heynckes at the time of this 2012 game, had a late opportunity to draw level, but Arjen Robben had a penalty saved.

Dortmund drubbed Bayern 5-2 in the DFB-Pokal final a month later, Lewandowski grabbing a hat-trick, and they won the league by eight points.

2017 - Dortmund rocked by bomb attack

All of Europe was shocked when three explosions struck the Borussia Dortmund team bus shortly before a Champions League home match against Monaco.

Dortmund defender Marc Bartra was injured, suffering a broken wrist and hand injury and had to undergo surgery, and there was relief nobody was killed. A police motorbike escort rider was also hurt after pipe bombs detonated in a roadside hedge by the team hotel.

Various terrorism theories were raised and investigated before a man was arrested and later charged and found guilty of the attack, having plotted it as part of an attempted elaborate, derivatives-based, financial fraud.

The man, a 29-year-old German-Russian, was jailed for 14 years after being found guilty on 28 counts of attempted murder.

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