Ahead of Jurgen Klopp taking charge of his first-ever Liverpool vs. Manchester United clash (Watch live, 9:05 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) on Sunday, the German coach has dropped a bit of a bombshell.
In a recent BBC documentary former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson revealed that when picking his successor — which was ultimately David Moyes and we all know how that went — he also looked at Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and… Jurgen Klopp.
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Speaking to the media ahead of the battle at Anfield between the two bitter rivals, Klopp confirmed that he held talks with United in 2013 about taking over at Old Trafford.
“We spoke,” Klopp said. “We spoke not a lot but, for me, it was a lot. It was a big honour, the whole talk, to be honest. But I could not leave Dortmund. You are in April and you are in the middle of the planning for next season. You have this player and this player who are coming but then you are not there anymore? That doesn’t work. Not in my life.”
“I didn’t hear about a real offer (from United) 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 smart but that is my way. It was the same at Mainz.”
Klopp was pressed more on the talks with United and if Ferguson directly asked him to become their next manager, but the German coach abruptly put a lid on all of that talk.
Although the former Borussia Dortmund coach did call Fergie the “John Lennon of football” and in the past Ferguson has spoken about how worried he is that Klopp will lead Liverpool back to glory and ahead of United.
The Liverpool-Manchester United rivalry doesn’t need any more spice added to it, but if Klopp makes a success of his time on Merseyside and the Red Devils continue to struggle under Louis Van Gaal and/or his successor, then you can’t blame United’s fans to wonder: “What if Klopp had succeeded Fergie?”
What if, indeed…