Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended Manchester United after they failed to sign Erling Haaland from Red Bull Salzburg during the January transfer window.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were in talks with the 19-year-old Norwegian who has available for just £18m, but he opted to move to the Bundesliga and has since taken Germany by storm.
The former Molde man has scored 11 goals in his first seven outings under Lucien Favre, including a fine Champions League brace against PSG on Tuesday.
“Everybody blames Man United for not getting him, but we wouldn’t have got him,” said Klopp.
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“We couldn’t have got him. It’s as easy as that. He wanted a top team, as soon as possible, with an open space and Borussia Dortmund – that’s timing.
“I hope you know how much I love and respect the people at Dortmund, but it’s not that they made a perfect approach and did this and that, it was more they were there, [and they] had the space at number nine.
“Here we go, you are 19 years old, want to play Champions League, top end of Bundesliga, so go for it.
“Nobody else had a chance, I’m pretty sure, no matter what they say.”
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Klopp was then asked if the move for Haaland was similar to that of his former team-mate Takumi Minamino, who moved to Anfield from Austria for just £7.25m in January.
“The difference couldn’t be bigger,” added the German boss.
“Erling Haaland made a perfect choice with Dortmund, and Taki made a perfect choice.
“Taki finds here a completely different situation. That’s normal. We have no problems, nowhere really (for him to start) particularly in an offensive position, but we need variation at moments.
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“Taki tries everything. Against the ball he is top class, but if you ask him, although he doesn’t say it, he wants to do what we want him to do.
“But we want him to do what he does naturally. That’s the time we need, and you lose a little bit of quality in that period until you fight back (to your best).
“He knows how I see it, how I think about it, about the people who have had the same problems before.
“He is fine, is training really hard, but it’s a situation you can’t compare (with Haaland).”
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