Liverpool saw off competition from Barcelona to sign Naby Keita, who wanted to move this summer, according to a Leipzig official.
The Guinea midfielder will arrive at Anfield next summer after the Reds agreed a club-record £48million transfer for the 22-year-old in August.
Jurgen Klopp is even believed to have tried to get the player on board in January, but that request was blocked by RB Leipzig, whose CEO has revealed Barcelona also wanted the player.
RB Leipzig’s Oliver Mintzlaff has said Barca “didn’t try as hard” as Liverpool to get him.
Asked whether Klopp’s determination had been key, Mintzlaff told SportBild: “That’s right, even more so because Barcelona were also interested in Naby Keita.
“This was confirmed to us by Barcelona, but obviously they didn’t try as hard as Liverpool.
“He wanted the transfer this summer. But [Leipzig sporting director] Ralf Rangnick told the team that we will not sell any players [at that time].”
“This was not lip service – it was set in stone. Had we released Keita, other players might have come up with a similar idea.”