Jurgen Klopp has claimed that his “mistake” in not signing Sadio Mane for Borussia Dortmund has worked out well for Liverpool.
The Reds boss spoke to Mane when he was manager of Dortmund and the Senegalese forward was playing for Red Bull Salzburg.
He snubbed the chance to sign Mane and he joined Southampton instead for £11.8million before joining Liverpool this summer for £34million.
Mane will face his old club Southampton for the first time on Saturday afternoon.
“It was a pretty simple decision with Sadio this summer because I made the mistake at Dortmund where I didn’t take him,” said Klopp.
“We met each other, we talked but by the end I didn’t feel this [strikes hands together]. About three months later I would have punched myself, so I already knew that the next chance I have, I would take it. So it was not a difficult decision.
“When the club came this summer and Michael Edwards [Liverpool’s new sporting director] said we have an opportunity there were no talks necessary any more. It was a case of: ‘Let’s do it.’
“I don’t know why I didn’t sign him before. I like the player, it was more of a feeling. At Dortmund we could only get one player for this position, not two or three, so it needed to be exactly the right fit in this moment.
“I’ve said a lot of times, I’m not a genius and I couldn’t exactly imagine where he was in terms of playing in the Austrian league and what does the Austrian league mean for the football [at Dortmund]?
“I have made more mistakes in my life like this but he would have been more expensive if we had taken him to Dortmund and then he had been sold to Liverpool, so all good for Liverpool.
“The more I think about it, that was my first Liverpool decision. Nice.”
“I was so excited. I couldn’t believe it – that he wanted to meet and thought I could help his team, who were so good. I used to watch them all the time,” Mane told Goal of Klopp’s interest when he played for Salzburg.
“Things didn’t work out back then and it was frustrating, but that’s life – nothing just comes easy.
“I told myself to just carry on working hard, push myself and something big would come. I did that. I went to Southampton, I played well and then, Klopp wanted me again.”