Soccer

Soccer

SAN FRANCISCO -- When Warriors coach Steve Kerr watches soccer, things feel familiar.

Kerr, who supports Liverpool FC in the English Premier League, told NBC Sports Bay Area that he loves "that the teamwork in soccer is very similar to the teamwork in basketball."

"Creating advantages, ball movement, cutting without the ball," Kerr said of the similarities during a Friday interview at Chase Center. "Those things all matter in both sports, so it's fun to watch from a basketball perspective."

His Liverpool support is fitting then. The Reds sat top of the table entering Matchweek 8, eight points clear of reigning champions Manchester City, and few Premier League sides embody those traits more than the Champions League winners.

NBC Sports Bay Area briefly spoke with Kerr about his Liverpool fandom and the club's pursuit of its first ever Premier League title. The ensuing conversation has been lightly edited for clairty.

NBC Sports Bay Area: You've mentioned before rooting for Egypt and Mo Salah is how you got into Liverpool. What have you grown to love about the club since you started rooting for them?
Steve Kerr: Just how they attack. They're constantly pressing forward, and their front line is amazing with [Roberto] Firmino and [Sadio] Mané. Just watching them take control right away, and if they get an early lead, it's like they just strangle you. How do you do anything against them? 

 

I love watching Jurgen Klopp. As a coach, I watch other coaches, and I can tell that there's something bigger than the game going on with him. They're just a fun group to watch.

So when you watch Liverpool, you don't shut that coaching part of your brain off? You're looking to glean some insights? 
I'm really watching it as a fan, but I do watch some of the interviews with Klopp. He's always a good interview, and last year, I quoted him [after the Warriors' playoff win over the Houston Rockets in May], dropping a couple of F-bombs. But I just loved his approach. They've become really a source of inspiration for me.

When you've won as a player and you've won as a coach, how does that change watching one of your teams win? How did you react when Liverpool won the Champions League title last June?
It was exhilarating, watching that 4-0 comeback [in the second leg of the Champions League semifinal against FC Barcelona]. I'm still a sports fan, a big sports fan, so even though I'm coaching my own team, I'm still cheering for several teams. I cheer for the Dodgers -- they've been my baseball team since I was a kid -- and it's great to have a Premier League team to cheer for because it's such great competition, and the quality of play is so amazing. It's really been fun just to kind of have a new sport to cheer and a new team to cheer for.

It's still early in the season, but Liverpool is eight points up on Manchester City. When do you as a fan allow yourself to say, 'Hey, they've got a good title shot this year?'
Well, last year was insane. To not win with that point total (97), but it was probably -- I'm guessing -- the highest point total ever for a team not to win. It was an amazing two-team race with two all-time great teams, and I think this year is probably more about the Premier League than about the Champions League. The start is fantastic, but there's 30 games left, so a long way to go.