St Helens star Bunting celebrates (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Stephen Bunting admits he is planning to adopt the “Jurgen Klopp approach” as he bids for World Matchplay glory.
Bunting, a lifelong Liverpool supporter, has been inspired by Anfield’s charismatic German boss ahead of his opening clash in Blackpool against Gerwyn Price.
The 34-year-old is still on cloud nine after the Reds won the Champions League in June and now wants that glory to rub off on his game.
He told Live Darts: “I’m definitely all for taking the Jurgen Klopp approach to my game.
“If I could apply his amazing man management to the way I go about playing, then I could probably be as successful as him.
“I think he’s done a great job of Liverpool. I’ve just about calmed down from winning the Champions League final!
“I’d been to all the Champions League games at Anfield and went into the ballot for a ticket for the final, but I didn’t get one.
“However I was at Anfield for the Semi-Final against Barcelona and that was such an incredible, special night for the club. So I think I got to the right game.”
Bunting is embarking on his sixth straight World Matchplay campaign since joining the PDC but has fallen at the first hurdle in his last four attempts.
Runner-up in last month’s Czech Open, ‘The Bullet’ is back firing on all cylinders after admitting he came close to quitting the sport a year ago and will be keen to reach the heights of his debut since in 2014 in which he took the circuit by storm.
He added: “It’s definitely inspiring, it’s all about having a winning mentality. I’ve had my real lows a couple of years ago. My sports psychologist helped me through the toughest times I’ve ever had in my career.
“But now I handle it myself. I have a good belief in what I can achieve and I’m enjoying turning up at events.
“I’ve also adopted more of a golfer attitude, where they forget about the previous hole if it wasn’t a good one.
“It’s the same in darts – we have so many tournaments now, you have to immediately forget a bad defeat or any loss at all.
“Forget and move on to the next one and start afresh. If you allow it to carry over, it can destroy you.”
Bunting knows all about special venues from his visits to Anfield and says he can’t wait for the bright lights of Blackpool against the Grand Slam champion on Saturday night.
“It’s a local one for me which is good,” added the world number 18. “I can sleep in my own bed at night which is actually something which is a bonus, it makes a difference.
“I will go to Blackpool to enjoy myself and see what happens. I know my game is improving. I also know there’s peaks and troughs but I’m getting there.”