Klopp sends message to in-form Gundogan ahead of Liverpool vs Man City

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp labelled Ilkay Gundogan "one of the best players I ever coached" as he heaped praise on the Manchester City midfielder ahead of Sunday's vital clash.

Gundogan, 30, is enjoying his finest season in a City shirt since moving from Borussia Dortmund to the Etihad Stadium in 2016.

The midfielder has picked up nine goals and two assists in 23 games in all competitions and his form has been vital to his side's 13-game unbeaten run in the top flight.

Klopp was the manager who brought Gundogan to Dortmund in 2011 and the pair spent four seasons working alongside each other at Westfalenstadion.

While Gundogan's goal and assist output has increased since he left the Bundesliga giants, his fine form comes as no surprise to his former boss – whom he will face at Anfield on Sunday.

Quizzed on whether he has been taken aback by Gundogan's purple patch, Klopp told reporters: "Not at all.

"The goalscoring maybe a little bit, the rest not. Ilkay was one of the best players I ever coached.

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"He was a very young player when he came to us from Nurnberg to Dortmund. Especially in the 2012 season, he was unbelievable and played pretty much like he is playing now.

"Then he had, unfortunately, some injuries, really tough injuries, but that's now all sorted.

"It's the longest period he can play football without getting interrupted and I wish him really well that he can continue like this.

"That's the only reason. He was always that player. When you are smart and experience comes into play as well, then it's another jump in your performance level, and I'm not surprised at all."

Gundogan suffered a serious back injury while on international duty with Germany in 2013 and he was sidelined for over a year. He also sustained cruciate ligament damage during his first season with City and was ruled out for nine months.

But Gundogan's injury woes appear to be firmly behind him and he will no doubt have a major part to play as City travel to the champions.

Is Ilkay Gundogan the best midfielder in the Premier League based on current form? Have your say in the comments.

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