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'It would be his dream to go to England and his favourite club would be United. That’s what he said'

Liverpool were not always Jurgen Klopp’s number-one choice, says his former manager.

Image: PA Archive/PA Images

JURGEN KLOPP’S MANAGERIAL predecessor at Mainz, who coached the German as a player in the 2. Bundesliga, claims the Liverpool manager would have opted for Manchester United over his current employers were it not for timing.

Eckhard Krautzun, who managed Klopp for 98 days before being replaced as manager by his 33-year-old defender, remains close to his former student.

In an interview with TheSetPieces, Krautzun claimed the former Borussia Dortmund boss had long dreamt of managing in the Premier League, but 30 miles up the M62 from where he currently operates.

“I’m not surprised he does so well,” he said of Klopp’s tenure on Merseyside to date. But when it came to the fiery German’s favourite club, Liverpool weren’t always top of the pile, according to Krautzun.

“It would be his dream to go to England one day and his favourite club would be [Manchester] United. That’s what he said,” Krautzun explained, recalling a conversation he once had with Klopp.

Indeed, Krautzun informed TheSetPieces that he discussed the prospective managerial move “very openly” with his friend Alex Ferguson when the United icon moved upstairs to the boardroom: “I said, ‘Jürgen Klopp, if he goes abroad, if he goes to England, his love would be Manchester United.’”

Like Krautzun, Ferguson was present at the Olympiastadion Berlin in 2012 when Klopp’s Dortmund outfit annihilated Bayern 5-2 in the German Cup final, and was impressed by the tactical makeup of the Shinji Kagawa-inspired German champions.

“I think that’s where his love or respect for Jürgen Klopp grew tremendously,” says Krautzun, who maintains that had the United job been available when Klopp left Dortmund in 2015, he would have wound up at Old Trafford as opposed to Anfield.

“After three or four months not working, I knew that he wanted to be in action again… When the offer came from Liverpool [that October], I knew he would not hesitate because he wanted to get into a top club in England.”

The 76-year-old is adamant, too, that the stars aligned accordingly, believing Klopp to have ended up at the club which best suits his personality.

“The fans are little more different to Man U,” he said.

Man U is more quiet, the fans love their team too but there is more emotion and more passion I think in Liverpool. And Kloppo I think is a passionate, very temperamental man. That club fits him.

Krautzun’s full interview on all things Klopp can be read on TheSetPieces.

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