Jurgen Klopp reveals how he felt like 'punching himself' after failing to bring current Liverpool star to Dortmund
Jürgen Klopp said he felt like “punching himself” for failing to sign Sadio Mané while the Liverpool manager was still coaching Borussia Dortmund.
Klopp held talks with the Senegal attacker when Mané was impressing for Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga, but admits he was not convinced enough to secure a deal.
Mané instead signed for Southampton, where he returns in a Liverpool shirt on Saturday.
“I made the mistake at Dortmund where I didn’t take him. We talked. I think everyone knows we met each other,” said Klopp.
“I don’t know why [I didn’t sign him]. It was a feeling. At Dortmund I was happy with the players in this position and we could only get one players, not two or three, so it needed to be the right exact fit at that moment. I said a lot of times, I’m not a genius. I have made more mistakes in my life like this.
“Around about three months later I would have punched myself, so I knew already the next chance I have I would take it. When the club [Liverpool] came and when [sporting director] Michael Edwards said we have an opportunity, no talks were necessary anymore. It was a case of ‘let’s do it’.”
Mané eventually united with Klopp when he made the £30 million move to Anfield last summer.
“I think 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,” said Klopp.
“My first Liverpool decision, the more I think about it. Nice!”
Although in-form midfielder Adam Lallana is unavailable through injury, Liverpool will still include three former Southampton players in their side on Saturday – Mané, Nathaniel Clyne and Dejan Lovren, who have all proved to be successful purchases.
Klopp has spoken of his admiration for the St Mary’s club.
“Southampton have made very creative and good decisions,” he said. “Claude Puel is an unbelievably good manager and they are a club where they give you the time and space to create something.
“They are flexible offensively but the bad news for them is they play against us so that’s how it is.
“It can be different for everyone, and that’s what we have to show. That we can play football, and defend.”