Wigan boss Paul Cook is a big fan of Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool - in terms of both meanings of the phrase.

He is an avid Reds supporter, as well as a coach who is looking on at a fellow professional in awe.

The 53-year-old Liverpool-born manager started his playing career at non-league side Marine, based in Crosby, and the first team he managed was Southport.

His current side, who he has been in charge of since 2017, are 20th in the Championship table, outside the relegation zone only on goal difference, just ahead of Hull City.

The former central midfielder for the likes of Norwich City and Wolves became the first English manager to beat Pep Guardiola when his team beat Manchester City 1-0 in February 2018 in the FA Cup.

Though it is the team that he supports who he feels are the top side in the country at the current moment in time - backed up by their healthy lead in the suspended Premier League table.

Speaking exclusively to Blood Red for a special podcast, Cook said: “You see the energy of Liverpool’s two full-backs and you see the average position of the two centre-halves - they’re not defending on their 18-yard box, that is for sure.

“You look at how hard the midfield three work covering the ground and recovering the ball.

“And the front three - it’s the perfect team, and it’s so good to watch.

Paul Cook, manager of Wigan Athletic, is lofted in the air as they celebrate becoming League One champions after the match between Doncaster Rovers and the Latics at the Keepmoat Stadium on May 5.

“You’re looking and thinking how can you get your own team to play like that?

“They dominate the ball so well and they’re in sync with what they want to achieve.

“They’re at their best when they’re doing everything at a high tempo, but in their own time.

“It’s as near to perfect as you’ll see - this is a really special team.

“They’ll feel tired like every other team but what they have got - the biggest factor of all - is the mental strength and belief that they are going to be successful.

“And when you have got that, and you have quality players, you gain strength from that.”

Jordan Henderson, who was recently named as the man behind a scheme set up to help Premier League footballer's fund the National Health Service during the coronavirus pandemic, was also singled out for praise by Cook.

He added: “Henderson epitomises everything that is good about football.

“He’s probably not the most talented lad in the world, but he is a good player and he’ll captain the team like captains should do.

“He has a little bit more talent than people give him credit for, but when you follow Steven Gerrard, it’s difficult.

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“You can see the respect he demands - and gets - from his fellow players.”

It was announced on Friday that football has been suspended indefinitely until more information about the coronavirus outbreak is known, including the length of time that people will be restricted with social distancing.

But the favoured outcome of the authorities and the majority of Premier League teams remains concluding this campaign before the next one begins, meaning Liverpool are still likely to be crowned champions.