Jurgen Klopp speaks about Sir Alex Ferguson's offer to take over at Manchester United in 2013
Sir Alex had approached him before he retired at the end of the 2012/13 season
With Liverpool set to take on Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp revealed he had talked to Sir Alex Ferguson when the Scot approached him to take over at Old Trafford after his retirement. Sir Alex had retired in 2013 after winning the Premier League for a 13th time and was looking at possible successors.
Klopp, then the manager at Borussia Dortmund, had won two league titles and reached the Champions League final that year. However, he had then told Ferguson that he would remain at the Bundesliga club and also signed a new contract.
I was committed to Dortmund: Klopp
This will be Klopp’s first big derby after taking over as Liverpool boss. And ahead of a clash rich with history, he was asked about Sir Alex approaching him to take over the reins at United in 2013.
“Yeah, we spoke,” said Klopp. “It was a big honour, the whole talk, to be honest.
“There was a time 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 but then you are not there anymore. That doesn’t work. Not in my life.
However, Klopp revealed there was no official offer but that he wouldn’t have taken it up even if there was.
“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 smart but that is my way.”
When pressed more on Manchester United and their struggles this season, Klopp did not want to be dragged into a discussion.
“United are a club with big possibilities, big potential. But why should I think much about Man United?” he questioned. “I have enough to do here.
“We want to win against them. If they have a problem in this moment, maybe if I know a few of their players, it is easier. But, to be honest, our target is to win. Not to solve their problem.”
“Maybe he is the greatest ever, the John Lennon of football or something like this, that’s really impressive to talk with him.” – Jurgen Klopp on Sir Alex Ferguson
Manchester United vs Liverpool no longer a top of the table clash?
The two sides have fallen from grace in recent years and are currently out of the top four. United are sixth while Klopp’s side are down in ninth place – three points behind their arch rivals.
When reminded of their current predicament, Klopp said: “Yes, it is not the biggest in terms of the table. If you went on the table it would be Arsenal v Leicester.
“But we cannot and should not ignore history. Historically, it is a really big clash and we have to accept that we are protagonists.
“Should I say to the players: ‘oh, come on, it’s only sixth vs ninth so stay cool?’ No, it is a big game for us and we want to win. I can’t change where we are in the table.
“I love football because of the intensity of the game and, with this game, the intensity starts before so that’s good.”