By Carl Markham, PA
Jurgen Klopp admits he could have opted for an easier life winning trophies with Bayern Munich but is much happier enjoying the ride he has taken Liverpool on.
The Reds boss heads to Wembley for the FA Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday aiming to land their second piece of silverware this season, with a Champions League final reunion with Real Madrid still to come at the end of the month.
An unprecedented quadruple looks increasingly unlikely with Manchester City holding the upper hand in the Premier League, but three cups in one campaign would still represent a huge success and would match the trio of major trophies (excluding the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup) Klopp won in his previous six years at the club.
Throughout his career the 54-year-old has always found himself competing against a greater power – Bayern in the Bundesliga as Borussia Dortmund manager and now City – but has still found a way to win.
And although things look to have got even more difficult with Pep Guardiola’s side signing striker Erling Haaland from Dortmund for next season, Klopp relishes the challenge.
“Which club should I go to to have a different situation? Tell me,” said the German, who said he had turned down a number of approaches from Bayern, including while he was at Liverpool.
“The only thing I could do is ask Pep if he is sick of all that winning and I take over at City. Is that the idea? That wouldn’t work, I don’t want to do it.
“I could have gone to Bayern a few times, I could have won more titles in my life, pretty sure I would say – a good chance at least.
“I didn’t do it. I had a contract here and I never did it. That’s completely fine. The world is not full of winners, the world is full of triers.
“And I try and sometimes I win with some other people together. I am happy with that.
“If we are all only happy when we are really winning, in the end, when your race finishes, what life would that be?”
The squad Klopp has assembled is arguably the greatest in the club’s long history but, for all their quality, they could still end up with just the Carabao Cup for their efforts at the end of the season.
While that would be a massive disappointment the Liverpool manager said fans should cherish the memories which have been created, win or lose.
“When I say ‘Enjoy the journey’ I mean it as there have been so many great moments already,” he added.
“If we stop (winning) now it’s not great, as we didn’t win the FA Cup final and didn’t win the Champions League final and came second in the Premier League…
Klopp fist pumps…but with his fifth trophy as Reds boss in his hand 🥰 pic.twitter.com/hjqfy9WUsI
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 27, 2022
“Forget that and just say ‘Wow, that was a ride’. We only cause ourselves problems as human beings – ‘Don’t come home without a quadruple’, for example – you will never be happy.
“If that is the only way to satisfy you that is really difficult.
“This club went through incredibly tough periods and always hit back and if people can’t appreciate the time we are in or the team they have I would really feel for them because it’s fantastic what the boys do.
“We are three points away (from City) and seven goals. We will try (to win the Premier League).
“We cannot do more and I can enjoy that – if people can’t I cannot change that.”
Klopp insists he is no way jealous of the resources available to City which have allowed them to sign one of Europe’s hottest young prospects in a deal, wages included, which is expected to cost them £300million over the course of 21-year-old Haaland’s contract.
“It is not what other teams are doing and its like ‘Gah, they signed him’. I never thought that to be honest,” he said.
“When they took a player from me and put him there, in Germany quite frequently, it gives them 20 per cent and us minus 20 and that’s not cool but as long as they don’t pick from us I’m fine.”