Jürgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, has confirmed that Manchester United did speak to him when appointing Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor but says he rejected the idea of joining the club because he was already committed to Borussia Dortmund.
Ferguson revealed last year that Klopp – one of a number of “very desirable candidates,” as he described him – had been sounded out in 2013, along with Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti before David Moyes was appointed. But ahead of a first ever encounter with United in his 15-year managerial career, Klopp said he could not have accepted a job offer, “big honour” though the approach was.
Klopp, whom Ferguson said last month could conceivably establish Liverpool as a superior side to United, while praising the German’s “class” in defeat to Newcastle United, said there was no firm offer whereby United said “come in March, [or come in] May”. But he could not have accepted one had it been tabled.
“We spoke. We spoke not a lot but, for me, it was a lot,” he said, in response to a question about Ferguson’s disclosure, made in his management book Leading.
“It was a big honour, the whole talk, to be honest. But in life it is always important… There was a time but I could not leave Dortmund. That is it. It was the same at Mainz [where Klopp managed for seven years until 2008]. We decided ‘thanks’ and then a good deal.”
Klopp, who is again without Daniel Sturridge for United’s visit to Anfield, said he could not say when the forward would be available.
He did not rule out going into the transfer market for a striker this month. “But… you are two weeks without a player so you think ‘OK we take another one’ but in two weeks you have one too much or two too much. They all come back.”