When Liverpool announced the signing of veteran goalkeeper Alex Manninger in 2016, eyebrows were raised. But the Austrian stopper has now revealed that the late career move was with a view to joining Jurgen Klopp’s coaching staff upon completion of his one-year contract.
The 33-times capped Austria international first came to prominence in the English game when he signed to be David Seaman’s back-up at Arsenal in 1997. His six-year spell in North London concluded with little fanfare in 2002, and a journeyman career ensued with stints in four other European countries.
Manninger became one of Jurgen Klopp’s first acquisitions at Anfield when he signed to provide steady back-up as third-choice keeper if required, but wound up not making a single competitive appearance for the Anfield club before hanging up his gloves in 2017.
Now, in an interview with Austrian newspaper the Krone (via ThisIsAnfield.com) Manninger has revealed that the idea to sign for Liverpool knowing he may never play was with the intention of transitioning into the coaching staff after retirement.
“The idea was there,” said Manninger, when asked if he could have stayed as a goalkeeping coach.
“But I played 20 of my 22 professional years abroad, and at the age of 40, that’s enough.
“I’m catching up with a lot of things that did not happen during my career.”
Since retiring from the professional game, the 42-year-old has reignited his interest in the hobby he took up before becoming a full-time pro – carpentry.
Liverpool would eventually go on to appoint Jack Robinson instead after the coach left his role with the FA in 2018 to join up with incumbent goalkeeping coach John Achterberg.
Despite never pulling on the famous red jersey during his time on Merseyside, Manninger was full of praise for Klopp’s coaching methods.
“[He is] a coach who has understood every fibre of modern football, is straightforward [and] never seeks excuses.”
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