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MICAH RICHARDS: Saying NO to Manchester United was Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s BEST decision

You don’t reject Manchester United. That was always an unwritten rule, certainly when I was playing. If you heard within the game that Old Trafford was interested in someone, it was likely where they would go.

The only way you didn’t end up at Old Trafford was if you were in Liverpool or Manchester City. I heard there were strong rumors that Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to sign me and if I had played for someone other than City I would have swum to join him.

United was the pinnacle. The fans, the history of the club; the funds they had and the investment they could make: it was the place to be. When Ferguson retired in 2013 and approached David Moyes to succeed him, there was no way he could have said no.

Sir Alex Ferguson approached Jurgen Klopp to take over at Manchester United

But the German rejected it, since he did not believe that it was the right moment.

But the German rejected it, since he did not believe that it was the right moment.

Sir Alex Ferguson approached Jurgen Klopp to take over at Manchester United

Instead, Klopp ended up winning trophies at Liverpool - how different things could have been

Instead, Klopp ended up winning trophies at Liverpool - how different things could have been

Instead, Klopp ended up winning trophies at Liverpool – how different things could have been

Jurgen Klopp, however, was an exception to the rule. Ferguson spoke to him about the possibility of taking over as coach when he was working for Borussia Dortmund, but the German turned it down, as he did not want to break his contract and did not think the time was right.

It was the right decision. The landscape of English football would have looked completely different if Ferguson had influenced him. I’m pretty sure United would have had another Premier League title if he had been their coach during the six years he’s been at Liverpool.

There are so many little things to consider for the impact of this decision. Sadio Mane, for example, turned down the opportunity to join United from Southampton in 2016, preferring to work with Klopp at Anfield.

Klopp wanted to sign Mane when he was in Dortmund, but he hesitated and lost his chance. He didn’t make the same mistake at Liverpool. Look at how important the Senegal midfielder has been in the last five years, imagine what could have happened if he had gone to United.

So yeah, Klopp’s intuition that he had to wait before reaching the Premier League, rather than being drawn in by Ferguson, was huge. Those who turn down United are often said to live to regret their decision, but if anything, saying “no” has taken Klopp to another realm.

He was always a coach that I looked up to. Their work for Dortmund was exceptional and none of us who played them in the Champions League in 2012 will forget how they raced across City at the Etihad – only one of Joe Hart’s best performances allowed us to draw a 1-1 draw.

His teams played outstanding football and he has consistently shown this in the Premier League, shaping a Liverpool that is a threat to all. However, if I’m honest, I don’t think the work you’ve done to bring your club back into the elite has been much appreciated.

You have to remember that when they arrived in England, Liverpool were losing faith and they knew that every year that passed away from the Champions League would impact their reputation. Back then, Liverpool couldn’t dream of competing for the signatures of the best players.

James Milner has been with Liverpool since Klopp's tenure began in 2015

James Milner has been with Liverpool since Klopp's tenure began in 2015

James Milner has been with Liverpool since Klopp’s tenure began in 2015

In 2015, they signed James Milner on a free transfer from City. It was assumed that Milly, who had won two titles with us, would go there to finish her career – never, I must emphasize, was that the case on her behalf, at age 30.

Milner has become a pivotal figure for Klopp. He has told me that Klopp is the kindest and most humble coach he has ever worked with, there is never any uncertainty. You tell your team what you want from them and how you expect them to play. Everyone feels important.

See how he managed with Naby Keita in Madrid on Tuesday. No one would say that Keita played a good game, despite scoring a superb goal, but Klopp did not criticize him, he never criticizes his players in public, he blamed himself for any shortcomings. That is brilliant management.

On the other hand, much of what he has done for Liverpool has been brilliant. He would have had different options open to him in the transfer market if he had gone to United at the beginning, but having money available does not guarantee anything.

The German's use of the £ 145 million he made from the sale of Philippe Coutinho was a masterstroke.

The German's use of the £ 145 million he made from the sale of Philippe Coutinho was a masterstroke.

The German’s use of the £ 145 million he made from the sale of Philippe Coutinho was a masterstroke.

He has lived within his means at Anfield and the decision to cash in on Philippe Coutinho in January 2018, who was Liverpool’s undisputed golden boy at the time, and use the £ 145 million they got from Barcelona to buy Virgil van Dijk. and Alisson Becker was a masterstroke.

Last weekend marked the sixth anniversary of Klopp’s first game against Liverpool and the story since then has been one of constant improvement, without resting on its laurels. Things have also gone well for him at the right times, but he has proven to be one of the best coaches in the world.

More than anything, it showed that the big decision to say “no” to United was absolutely correct. How different things could have been. Liverpool and Klopp are the perfect couple.

REDS MUST REGISTER IN SALAH

I spoke extensively about Mohamed Salah last month and how he always wanted to play for Liverpool. In the main reading, you will have seen my admiration for how Liverpool sold Philippe Coutinho to accelerate their rebuilding under Jurgen Klopp.

There is nothing wrong with selling your best player. However, there is a problem if you consider letting go of the best player in the world.

If Salah were to hit the market tomorrow, everyone would try to buy it. And I mean everyone. This is a new contract that Liverpool simply have to fulfill.

There is a problem if Liverpool allow Mohamed Salah to leave: they must give him a new deal

There is a problem if Liverpool allow Mohamed Salah to leave: they must give him a new deal

There is a problem if Liverpool allow Mohamed Salah to leave: they must give him a new deal

PALMER CAN FOLLOW IN PHIL’S FOOTSTEPS

What a week for Cole Palmer! He came off the bench for Manchester City’s first team on Saturday afternoon against Burnley, straight to play for the Under-23s on Saturday night and achieves a hat-trick and then a goal in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Cole has shown that no matter what club you are in, a special talent will always have a chance. I love the way he effortlessly hits the ball and his individual brilliance shines through.

I hope that you will now follow Phil Foden’s lead and see that a relentless pace of work will help you take the next step.

Cole Palmer now has a chance to follow Phil Foden's lead and take the next step

Cole Palmer now has a chance to follow Phil Foden's lead and take the next step

Cole Palmer now has a chance to follow Phil Foden’s lead and take the next step

MICAH’S MAN OF THE WEEK

Jamie Vardy is one of the toughest opponents I have ever played against. He was determined and fierce; He was running after you constantly when attacking and then running towards you constantly when he was pressing. It never stopped to the point where you felt like it was running on batteries.

I saw him last week against Manchester United and he gasped once again, an absolute superstar. What a career he has had, winning the FA Cup and the Premier League.

He is 34 years old and not slowing down.

Jamie Vardy gasped once again against Man United - he's an absolute superstar

Jamie Vardy gasped once again against Man United - he's an absolute superstar

Jamie Vardy gasped once again against Man United – he’s an absolute superstar

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