Jurgen Klopp has said he decided to join Liverpool ahead of Manchester United and others because the club prioritised football above all else and had a family atmosphere despite their size.
The Reds manager spoke to club legend Robbie Fowler (the Mirror‘s David Maddock), who asked why the German picked Liverpool amid United’s reported interest in him.
Klopp said he is a “football romantic” who loved the history of the club, and he pointed to the welcoming atmosphere at Anfield:
“A little thing. Liverpool is a world class brand, big, big, big, but in Melwood, you know it Robbie, it is still a family, nothing else, and you can go in and feel that. I have to develop and improve, sure, but I don’t want to go into the office in the morning to wear a tie. That is not me.”
The 50-year-old added that at Liverpool he doesn’t “have to act in a specific way” and said the club “took me like I am,” which allowed him to focus on football.
What further endeared the Reds to him was that football was their top priority:
“It is a football club. A football club. I had talks with other clubs and they didn’t sound like a football club.
“It sounded like marketing, image, you need to sign this, you need to sign that. And I thought wow, that’s not the game I love. It’s all part of football, but it can not be the number one, two, three, four, priority.
“First of all please try to improve the game we play. And that’s what I am good in. All the rest can happen but it’s not so important for me.”
Liverpool writer Oliver Bond believes the club and manager are well-suited to one another:
Know there’s been ups and downs but I cannot think of a more perfect manager than Jurgen Klopp for Liverpool Football Club. We’re extremely lucky to have him. He gets the club, the city, the culture, the history, the fans. It’s genuinely the perfect match.
Klopp joined Liverpool in October 2015, and several months later, he revealed he had been approached by Sir Alex Ferguson about replacing him at Old Trafford in 2013.
The former Borussia Dortmund coach is yet to win silverware with the Reds, but he has had a transformative effect on the team in his time at Anfield.
In his first season, the club reached the finals of the League Cup and the UEFA Europa League, and his team have now qualified for the UEFA Champions League two years running while playing some superb football.
Bleacher Report’s Sam Tighe gave a glowing assessment of their current campaign, which could yet get better if they beat Real Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday, while Liverpool writer Joel Rabinowitz is also pleased:
Jurgen Klopp: 9/10 Despite lack of domestic cup success, a top-4 finish (highly likely) and this Champions League run represent an excellent campaign.
Another season of real progress under Klopp. Liverpool need to become a regular Champions League club once more and he's managing that, while also reaching the final. A hugely exciting period in the club's modern history and a massive summer transfer window ahead.
Even if the club don’t manage to win in Kiev, it will still have been a thrilling season filled with some exquisite attacking football, and there’s a lot to be said for that.
United may privately rue their failure to land Klopp back in 2013, given the turgid years that followed under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, though publicly they can point to the FA Cup win in 2016 and the Europa League and League Cup triumphs last year.
Silverware is the last piece of the puzzle for Klopp at Anfield, and even if they fail on Saturday, it feels like only a matter of time until trophies follow.