He worked under the late Mainz boss during his two-year spell at the Stadion am Bruchweg.
Speaking on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football show, Klopp revealed Frank helped lay the foundations for him to make a success of his own leap from pitch to dugout.
Asked about his biggest influence, Klopp said: "Wolfgang Frank was his name and unfortunately he died too early.
"He brought in the 4-4-2 [at Mainz] and we became a much better team in this moment.
"We were a real average team, nobody was interested in the club but in this moment we learned that it's not important if single players were better than we were, we could still beat them. For us, it opened our eyes.
"When I became a manager a few years later, I used a lot of the stuff I learned from him.
"He was the perfect role model and a lot of his players from that team are now coaches or managers around the world and that was always his dream."