By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Jurgen Klopp has revealed he turned down an approach to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson as manager of Manchester United.
The Liverpool boss was sounded out by Ferguson in 2013 as the Old Trafford legend prepared to announce his retirement after his trophy-laden 27 years in charge.
Klopp joked that he needed 10 minutes before he could fully understand what the Scot was saying when he was offered the United the job.
But the German, who faces United for the first time on Sunday at Anfield, felt it would have been the wrong time to walk away from Borussia Dortmund.
David Moyes ultimately landed the job, but Ferguson revealed in a recent BBC documentary that United’s executives “knew Jose Mourinho was going to Chelsea, Carlo Ancelotti was going to Real Madrid and Jurgen Klopp had signed a contract with Dortmund”.
Klopp expanded on the discussions and explained that his commitment to Dortmund at the time was so strong that he could not consider moving to England.
“We spoke,” said Klopp at his media conference on Friday. “We spoke not a lot but, for me, it was a lot. It was a big honour, the whole talk, to be honest. But I could not leave Dortmund.
“You are in April and you are in the middle of the planning for next season. You have this player and this player who are coming but then you are not there anymore? That doesn’t work. Not in my life.
“I didn’t hear about a real offer (from United) 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. It was the same at Mainz.”
Asked directly if Ferguson said to him, “Will you become the next Manchester United manager?”, Klopp replied: “There is nothing more to say on this.”
The German eventually left Dortmund two years later, at the end of last season, and, after a five-month break from the game, took over from Brendan Rodgers at Anfield in October.
But Klopp did not disguise his esteem for Ferguson. “It’s a big honour to talk to Sir Alex,” he said. “For a manager it’s nearly the best thing you can do, to sit there and listen. OK, I needed 10 minutes to understand him and then it was OK.
“Maybe he is the greatest ever — the John Lennon of football. From my side there is a big amount of respect. What he did is not easy for another manager to do.”