Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp always dreamed of working in the Premier League. But before donning the red of Merseyside, the German coach’s chief ambition was to manage Liverpool’s greatest rivals Manchester United.
That is the claim of Eckhard Krautzun, Klopp’s mentor and predecessor at Mainz 05. Recalling a conversation he had with the Reds boss, Krautzun revealed that Klopp’s ‘favourite’ club in the Premier League was Manchester United.
“It would be his dream to go to England one day and his favourite club would be [Manchester] United. That’s what he said,” revealed Krautzun.
The 76-year-old retired coach, who counts former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson as one of his most influential friends in football, claimed that the Scotsman was very impressed with Klopp after his Borussia Dortmund side thrashed Bayern Munich 5-2 in the 2012 DFB Pokal final.
“I said, ‘Jürgen Klopp, if he goes abroad, if he goes to England, his love would be Manchester United,’” added Krautzun.
“I think that’s where his [Ferguson] love or respect for Jürgen Klopp grew tremendously.”
Klopp had previously revealed that Ferguson was in contact with him to discuss a potential switch to Old Trafford but the timing was not right.
“We spoke,” said Klopp. “We spoke not a lot but, for me, it was a lot. It was a big honour, the whole talk, to be honest. There was a time [when United were interested] but I could not leave Dortmund. That is it. You are in April and you are in the middle of the planning for next season.
“You have this player and this player and this player who is coming in but then you are not there anymore? That doesn’t work. Not in my life anyway.
“I did not hear about a real offer but, if there was, I could not have done it. I first had to finish the job with Dortmund and then think about other things. Maybe that is not the smart way but that is my way. Of course I was loyal to Dortmund.”
Liverpool host United this weekend at Anfield in a crucial Premier League tie. Klopp, who has been under pressure lately after a series of disappointing results, will be hoping to get a positive result and get Liverpool’s season up and running.