Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has lavished praise on Arsenal’s “outstanding” forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The 29-year-old Gabonese marksman is enjoying a productive start to this season and previously worked under Klopp at Borussia Dortmund.
How good has Aubameyang been for Arsenal? Five things to know…
- Aubameyang joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in January and finished last season with 10 goals across 14 matches.
- All of those goals came in the league which made Aubameyang the fastest player to reach 10 Premier League goals for Arsenal.
- Under new Gunners boss Unai Emery he’s featured in each of Arsenal’s opening 19 league games this season.
- Across those outings, he’s bagged 13 goals but is yet to register a hat-trick for the north London club.
- He currently leads the race for this season’s golden boot ahead of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur both of whom are one goal behind him.
Aubameyang is presently enjoying his first full campaign with Arsenal having joined halfway through last season for a club record £55.5m in January 2018.
His move to England saw him end a four-and-a-half year association with German powerhouse Borussia Dortmund, where he played under current Reds boss Klopp, and the German coach has nothing but good things to say about his former pupil.
“A lot. Outstanding player, outstanding person, really funny and nice guy,” Klopp told reporters when asked how much damage he can do when Liverpool welcome Arsenal for their final home game of 2018.
“He has the mindset of a proper goalscorer, always relaxed in front of goal. His combination of speed and finishing skills is pretty rare and makes him an exceptional player.
“He’s a threat in the big space and the small space and good at heading as well. It’s a nice package Arsenal bought there, and in combination with Lacazette is really difficult to deal with.
“They combine everything you could wish for with playing with two strikers. Very good combination.”
“Klopp helped me”
A former AC Milan youth player Aubameyang joined Borussia Dortmund, from AS Saint-Étienne, following Robert Lewandowski’s move to Bayern Munich in 2013.
Signed by Klopp, who famously guided BVB to back-to-back championships as well as reaching the 2013 Champions League final, he quickly became the club’s most prolific goalscorer.
Under the auspices of Klopp, the Gabonese international would feature in no fewer than 93 official matches scoring 41 goals in the process.
Klopp’s departure in 2015 brought their working relationship to an end; but it was fondly looked back on by Aubameyang, who credits the German tactician for making him the player he is today.
“Sometimes I didn’t understand why I wasn’t picked,” he told The Sun in 2016 ahead of BVB’s Europa League meeting with Liverpool.
“Klopp explained that when you come to play for Dortmund, the first season always happens in this way — it’s an apprenticeship.
“He helped me to understand that things would be better the next season. He told me, ‘I know that you young players want everything right away. But you have to learn’. Klopp would reproach me for not tracking back properly.
“I took things on board and I listened to him. I worked hard in training, I stayed behind after training. That’s what helped me to shine in the Bundesliga because I scored quite a lot of goals despite some difficult games in the league. Klopp helped me play my favourite position again — centre-forward.”