Joe Gomez says Liverpool as “blessed” to have a manager like Jurgen Klopp after the German guided them to their sixth European Cup triumph.
The Reds were greeted by an estimated 750,000 fans as they returned to Merseyside on Sunday following their 2-0 victory over Tottenham in Madrid the previous night.
Centre-stage, naturally, was Klopp – smiling, drinking, waving and dancing. A relaxed man, having ended Liverpool’s seven-year wait for a trophy.
On Saturday night, he had been throw into the air by his players at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium, the celebrations carrying on long into the evening.
For Gomez, 22, it was the first silverware of his club career. The defender was a late substitute against Spurs, and credits Klopp for Liverpool’s success.
“It’s only right [the celebrations with the manager],” he said. “All of us have so much gratitude to have a manager like him.
“For me personally he has done so much for me and all the lads think the same. He is an unbelievable manager and someone we owe a lot to. It shows the togetherness in the group and how much we all value him as a manager.”
Gomez added: “It is just his energy. Not just the tactical side of things but him as a person, that’s why there is such a connection. That is why we want to play for him, why we want to celebrate with him when we win because he is one of the reasons we do it.
“It is special. He brings so much value to us and he shows us what it means to play for this club.
“I am quite young but I know I am blessed to have a manager like him. I don’t think there are many out there who does what he does. We are lucky.”
Gomez also singled out captain Jordan Henderson, whose leadership qualities have been key in establishing the Reds’ admirable team spirit.
“Unbelievable,” he said. “I don’t think there are many better captains than him. I think as a person he is one of the best there is and he deserves so much.
“He’s had tough times but for me, ever since I came to the club, I’ve had a real connection with him and no-one deserves it more than him and I am so happy he was the one to lift it for the sixth time for this club.”
For Gomez himself, he can reflect on a season of promise as well as frustration. Outstanding alongside Virgil van Dijk at centre-back in the opening months of the campaign, a broken leg interrupted his progress. By the time he returned, Joel Matip had cemented his place.
“I’ve had some tough times and it’s a battle to come back from it,” Gomez said. “But I’ve never doubted myself and I never will.
“It is not easy to come back from injuries but it is part of the game and happens for a reason. It is a blessing to play for this club and I just have to go again. I am more motivated than ever and getting a taste of this is something which will drive me on next season.”
Gomez echoed the thoughts of several Liverpool team-mates when suggesting that this success could usher in a new era of glory at Anfield.
And he believes the fact the club can hang on to its star names – Klopp included – will be key.
“That is the main thing,” he said. “That’s what we all know. We are here together to stay and I think the boundaries are limitless.
“Who knows, we just have to keep grounded, stay focused and keep doing what we are doing and hopefully we can get some more.
“The manager said we are a team together, staying this way, and that is the main thing. We have a foundation which will stay and only get stronger so all our belief in what we can do is at an all-time high.”