Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has revealed Sir Alex Ferguson backed Jurgen Klopp to return the glory days to Anfield.
The footballer-turned-pundit celebrated his former club winning a sixth European Cup in Klopp’s third full season in charge.
Klopp at Liverpool. Five key things to know…
- Matches (W-D-L): 208 (119-52-37)
- Goals/conceded: 436/214
- Highest league position: 2nd (2018/19)
- Biggest win: 7-0 against NK Maribor, 2017 and Spartak Moscow, 2017
- Honours: 2019 Champions League
Klopp was appointed Liverpool manager in October 2015 following a disappointing start of the season by Brendan Rodgers who nearly ended the club’s championship drought earlier that year.
His recruitment was seen as a coup given his previous successes with Borussia Dortmund where he bagged consecutive Bundesliga titles and guided them to a Champions League final. On-field triumphs coupled with his management style earned him a place among Europe’s super coaches.
Klopp subsequently became a man wanted and turned down the chance of managing Manchester United in 2013 when legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down at Old Trafford, but the German tactician remained highly thought of by the 13-time Premier League winner, who was in no doubt of the impact he’d make at Anfield according to Carragher.
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“I can recall the moment when I became genuinely excited about what Jurgen Klopp would bring to Liverpool,” he wrote in his Telegraph column.
“The true endorsement came on a visit to Old Trafford a couple of years ago. I was invited to play in Michael Carrick’s testimonial (in June 2017) and had the chance to speak to Sir Alex Ferguson. I had read Fergie’s complimentary remarks about the Liverpool manager so wanted to hear more.
“‘He’s got something about him. He is very confident,’ Sir Alex told me. There was look of genuine admiration for Klopp, accompanied by that added hint of concern telling me all I needed. ‘If Fergie is worried, this guy must be the real deal,’ I thought.”
“Sir Alex explained he had met Klopp at one of the Uefa managerial conferences where the elite coaches sit on a forum discuss the direction of the modern game,” he added.
“Klopp, still a relatively young coach at the time, attended as Dortmund manager and was not in awe of the successful, more illustrious names around him. On the contrary, he was opinionated, forthright and, by all accounts, deeply impressive on a range of subjects. Sir Alex noted it.”
“In Europe, at least, Liverpool truly are back on their perch. Sir Alex will appreciate the fact that is because of the manager he suspected would put them there.”
Turning doubters into believers
On his arrival Klopp told the press and supporters: “We have to change from doubters to believers. Now.”
It’s fair to say he’s achieved that. Under him they’ve reached four major finals losing three before winning this season’s Champions League final.
Under him they’ve progressed in the league; his first season (30 games long) saw the Reds end in eighth. They’d achieve back-to-back fourth place finishes before coming second to Manchester City – losing the championship by one point.
Liverpool won 30 of their 38 outings losing just once, scoring 89 goals and conceding just 22. In Europe they reached successive finals, avenging last season’s loss to Real Madrid (3-1) with a 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.