Jurgen Klopp Plays Down Bayern Munich Rumours: 'It Is a Compliment to Liverpool'

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2019

MUNICH, GERMANY - MARCH 13: head coach Juergen Klopp of Liverpool looks on during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Liverpool at Allianz Arena on March 13, 2019 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp says he is "the right manager for Liverpool at the moment, though in football we all constantly have to prove ourselves" amid praise from Bayern Munich legend Franz Beckenbauer, per Theo Squires of the Liverpool Echo.

The latter lauded the idea of Klopp taking over at the Allianz Arena after Liverpool eliminated Bayern from the UEFA Champions League: "Jurgen Klopp at FC Bayern. That would be the highlight. Jurgen was the one who taught the Germans how to play football quickly."

Klopp described the praise "just like the king with his sword calling a man 'sir.'"

However, he maintained he's happy at Anfield: "If he thinks that, it is a compliment to Liverpool. Bayern have done everything right in the last 10 or 15 years without making many mistakes but I feel I am a good fit where I am."

The former Borussia Dortmund chief sounds like a manager intending to stay on Merseyside for a long time: "So far it has worked out and hopefully it will last a lot longer. That would be cool, because I hope that in 50 or 60 years I can be remembered without referring to managing many different clubs."

Those are words every Liverpool fan will surely welcome given how Klopp has the club vying for major prizes on two fronts this season. His team is top of the Premier League after Sunday's 2-1 win away to Fulham, although nearest rivals Manchester City have played a game less.

The Reds have also returned to the last eight of the Champions League after winning 3-1 in Munich on Wednesday. Klopp is trying to go one better after guiding Liverpool all the way to the final last season.

Liverpool have been made to feel and act like a heavyweight again thanks to Klopp's progressive tactics and aggressive spending. His relentless high pressing, rapid transitions and direct passing have the Reds playing some of the most attractive football on the continent.

Klopp's attacking principles are put into place by smart and selective signings. Versatile wide forwards Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah were brought on board by the German and have been prolific on his watch.

Klopp also hasn't been afraid to spend big to fix a leaky defence. Alisson Becker is the second-most expensive goalkeeper on the planet after arriving from AS Roma for £66.8 million last summer.

Meanwhile, no defender cost more than the £75 million Liverpool spent to acquire centre-back Virgil van Dijk in January 2018.

If there's one caveat to Klopp's Liverpool tenure, it's the lack of silverware. He has yet to deliver a trophy despite coming close on several occasions.

The Reds lost the 2016 Capital One Cup on penalties to City before losing that year's UEFA Europa League final 3-1 to Sevilla despite taking a first-half lead. Liverpool were beaten 3-1 by Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Kiev last May.

Trophies have eluded Liverpool since Klopp took over in 2015.
Trophies have eluded Liverpool since Klopp took over in 2015.Tom Jenkins/Getty Images

These misses aside, Bayern know how effective Klopp can be. He won two Bundesliga titles with Dortmund in 2011 and 2012 while also beating Die Roten in the DFB-Pokal final.

Bayern are currently pushing Klopp's old club all the way in this season's title race, but defeat in Europe has raised questions about manager Niko Kovac.

His tactics have also been scrutinised by key players, with striker Robert Lewandowski telling Viasport (h/t Jack Rathborn of The Independent) Bayern "played too defensive" against Liverpool.

Lewandowski hasn't been happy with Kovac's tactics.
Lewandowski hasn't been happy with Kovac's tactics.PATRIK STOLLARZ/Getty Images

The Bayern squad needs an overhaul with Arjen Robben set to move on and doubts about Franck Ribery's future.

Klopp would be an ideal choice to revitalise a Bayern side in danger of going backwards. However, the 51-year-old sounds as though leaving Liverpool is the last thing on his mind, especially with a first league title since 1990 firmly in his sights.


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