Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has picked Jay-Jay Okocha’s sizzling goal scored against Oliver Kahn as the most spectacular in the history of German football.
The 46-year-old Nigerian legend scored the goal when he played for Eintracht Frankfurt against Karlsruher during the 1992-93 Bundesliga season.
The midfielder dribbled past a number of his markers, leaving them flat on the floor, before calmly slotting home past future World Cup finalist Kahn.
The wondergoal was voted as Goal of the Season by many football magazines and popular German TV sports programme Sportschau.
“Okocha scored the most spectacular goal in the history of German football. It took like five minutes of Kahn and his defenders diving on the floor before he put the ball in the net,” Klopp told the Guardian.
“Some of the world’s best players have been from Africa; George Weah, Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure. In their generation they were some of the best players so why should we not sign them? It’s great.”
Klopp currently has three African players at Liverpool – Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Guinea’s Naby Keita – and they have been key to the success of his team in the recent past.
Mane and Salah’s goals propelled the Reds to clinch the Champions League last season and their efforts have been instrumental to their current top position on the Premier League table.
Klopp, whose wife lived in Kenya for three years, explained there is a mentality that motivates Africans to do well, citing the case of Salah, who drives more than four hours to training every day.
“In Europe, it’s difficult to find that [special story] – maybe in London it’s possible, I’m not too sure. All the African players have this story. It means they are motivated through the roof. It’s about the story that is behind them,” he continued.
“If you look at Sadio Mane: running away from home. Mo Salah: driving four and a half hours every day to training. You have these stories there. You don’t have these stories here. I read an article about the influence of Mo Salah at this moment in the Arabic world – it’s unbelievable!”
Klopp revealed he loves to sign African players but admitted managers are often left frustrated when they depart for the Cup of Nations.
The biennial tournament was previously scheduled between January and March before it was recently changed to June and July, and the German tactician explained the previous timing of the competition made some Premier League outfits snub African stars or limit their numbers in their clubs.
“I love the fact that we have so many African players, until the Africa Cup of Nations starts. Then it’s: ‘Oh my God!’” he added.
“It’s still better than it used to be because before they were out in the middle of the season. In the past, because the Africa Cup of Nations was in the winter it was really a reason not to sign a player because you would lose him for four weeks in the middle of the season. That was really something we had in our minds always.”
Klopp will hope to help Liverpool win their first Premier League title in 30 years this season, having last clinched the league title in 1990. They currently have a 25-point lead over Manchester City.
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