Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has praised the influence of manager Jurgen Klopp, saying he is like a father figure in the dressing room.
Klopp has transformed the Reds since arriving at the club in 2015, winning the UEFA Champions League last season and steering the team to the top of the Premier League in the current campaign. They lead Manchester City by six points ahead of Sunday's showdown between the two teams.
Mane has made huge strides since arriving at Anfield and is now regarded as one of the best attackers in world football. Speaking to France Football (h/t Rich Jones of the Daily Mirror), the Senegal international offered an insight into how Klopp helps his players:
"His secret, I think, is to be the team's dad. Between us, everything clicked straight away. We all love him like a father, and we fear him like one too.
"He takes up a lot of space in my life, and not just in football. He's great as a person. I trust him blindly, like most of the dressing room, I think."
Given Mane was regarded as an inconsistent winger at Southampton, it's testament to the player and Klopp that he's been able to develop into the force he is.
On Saturday, the Liverpool No. 10 scored a crucial last-minute winner for his side at Aston Villa, ensuring the Reds maintained their sizeable advantage at the top of the Premier League table:
Following the match, City manager Pep Guardiola accused Mane, who was booked for simulation in the game at Villa Park, of being a diver. Ahead of Tuesday's UEFA Champions League showdown with Genk, Klopp was quick to defend his player:
It's clear the Liverpool manager is a fantastic motivator, and his passion on the sidelines is unmatched. Where he arguably doesn't get the credit he deserves is in how he improves players under his guidance.
Mane is perhaps the most significant example during his time at the club, given there were many doubters when Liverpool signed the winger from Southampton.
Per Squawka Football, he has developed a habit of scoring late goals for his team:
Football writer Leanne Prescott thinks Mane is reflective of Liverpool's best qualities:
The indications are that Mane is going to take his game up another level this season. He has already scored 10 goals in all competitions and been crucial to the team storming to the top of the Premier League table.
Klopp has had a huge influence on the 27-year-old's ascent to stardom, and comments like these from Mane offer a glimpse into why so many players kick on under the tutelage of the German coach.