Jurgen Klopp discusses Diego Maradona comparison with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says meeting Diego Maradona was like being with the Pope as he paid tribute to the Argentine, who died this week.

Maradona passed away on Wednesday after a heart attack at his home in Buenos Aires and it has led to an outpouring of testimonials and homages being paid to the attacking midfielder.

Maradona was buried on Thursday in a private ceremony with relatives and friends while huge crowds gathered to pay their respects when his coffin was on display at the presidential palace.

Speaking ahead of Liverpool's Premier League clash with Brighton, Klopp opened up on the time he met Maradona and reckoned Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are ahead of him in his personal best-ever list.

Diego Maradona will be honoured by Premier League clubs and the BBC this weekend
(Image: 2019 Chris Brunskill/Fantasista)

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"The best through my lifetime. Maybe not now, I saw Cristiano and Messi now," Klopp said.

"In my career, he was the standout player. His life shows how nice it can be when you're world-class and how difficult it can be too. An impressive figure."

"I met him once which for a player of my level was like meeting the Pope.

Aerial view of the burial of late Argentine football legend Diego Armando Maradona as his family and friens carry the coffin with his remains at the Jardin Bella Vista cemetery, in Buenos Aires province, on November 26, 2020. – Argentine football legend Diego Maradona -who died of a heart attack on the eve, at the age of 60- will be laid to rest where his parents have been buried. (Photo by Emiliano LASALVIA / AFP) (Photo by EMILIANO LASALVIA/AFP via Getty Images)

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"You can see reactions all over the world. If we showed him the respect he deserves while alive instead of selfies, we could have helped him."

Meanwhile, Klopp says he is hopeful of having Jordan Henderson available for their trip to Brighton after a muscle problem.

He said: “Hendo trained yesterday, parts of team training and then had his individual session, so we have to see what we do with that.

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“For all the other players who played now [against Atalanta], they are still in recovery, so that’s how it is when you have only these few days in between.

“We have to make late decisions, so if you were to ask me now what will be the line-up and I was in a mood to tell you, I couldn’t.

“I [will] make this decision as late as possible because I have to wait until the medical department tells me who looks like [they’re] ready.

“Then it looks like from now on we have another 25-and-a-half hours to make sure that we bring the fittest and freshest players on the pitch.”

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