Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has explained why he turned down the opportunity to manage Manchester United earlier in his career. Klopp will take charge of Liverpool against United in a top-of-the-table Premier League clash on Sunday, but had things worked out differently he could have been in the away dressing room.
Klopp succeeded Brendan Rodgers as Liverpool manager in October 2015 and has turned the Merseyside club into Premier League and Champions League winners.
However, before he arrived at Anfield he was a highly sought-after coach due to his impressive stint in charge of German side Borussia Dortmund.
Klopp has previously spoken about how he was approached by Sir Alex Ferguson over succeeding the legendary Scot after 27 years at United in 2013, but the timing was not right for him to leave Dortmund, and United eventually appointed David Moyes instead.
Speaking on a charity Zoom call with Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Kenny Dalglish and Gareth Southgate on Friday, Klopp was asked if he saw similarities between his beginnings at Dortmund and Liverpool – both previously-successful clubs undergoing a rebuild.
“It was never a conscious thing that I thought they were struggling so let me go there,” he said to A Team Talk With Legends – Live.
“For me, it felt like it was meant to be with Dortmund when they showed interest. I knew before that they weren’t doing too well in that moment, but for me, it was the club, the stadium, the Yellow Wall – things I liked a lot. Liverpool were pretty similar.
“The Man United story – people have spoken about it – but the timing was not right. I had a three-year contract still at Dortmund, I’m not the guy to leave them.
“But Liverpool was a completely different situation, it felt right in that moment at the first second, that’s what I think.”
Manchester United weren’t the only Premier League team interested in making Klopp their manager before he took over at Liverpool in late 2015 – both Tottenham and Manchester City were linked with the German coach.
The 53-year-old caught the eye of many top-flight clubs after winning two Bundesliga titles and the DFB-Pokal over a seven-year spell with Dortmund.
His success and reputation meant he had the pick of jobs and he eventually agreed a three-year contract at Liverpool to take over from Rodgers.
It has proven to be a good match, with Klopp winning the 2019 Champions League and 2019/20 Premier League titles.
Although he has been hugely successful during his five-year stay on Merseyside, Klopp takes Liverpool into Sunday’s Premier League game against United in the midst of the difficult spell.
Liverpool have failed to win any of their most recent league matches against Southampton, Newcastle and West Bromwich Albion, allowing United to take a three-point lead at the summit of the table.
The Reds are, however, unbeaten in 67 home league matches since May 2017, meaning Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will have to produce a fantastic performance on Sunday if they are to extend their lead at the top of the table to six points.