Jurgen Klopp: Franz Beckenbauer praise is great but I'm focused on winning trophies with Liverpool

Adam Lanigan
The Telegraph
Jurgen Klopp has played down links with Bayern Munich - Getty Images Europe
Jurgen Klopp has played down links with Bayern Munich - Getty Images Europe

Jurgen Klopp knew that Liverpool’s victory at Bayern Munich in the Champions League would have reverberations in England and around Europe.

He was confident enough to describe that Liverpool were back at “the top level of European football” after their dominant 3-1 win at the Allianz Arena.

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The manner in which they dismantled the German champions did not go unnoticed in the posh seats in Munich, by Franz Beckenbauer in particular.

As a former World Cup-winning captain and manager, Beckenbauer holds a unique position in German football, above that of mere mortals. When he speaks, people invariably listen.

So when he mentioned after the game that Klopp would be an ideal future Bayern Munich manager, it carried more weight than the usual fare served by the army of former players operating in the media.

Klopp has far too much respect for the man known as the 'Kaiser' to rubbish the idea, but he knows that his job at Liverpool is nowhere near finished.

“Someone told me what Franz said after the game,” said Klopp. “It doesn’t put pressure on me. I am blessed that I have known him for 14 years. Knowing him is something quite special.

<span>Franz Beckenbauer was impressed by what he saw from Liverpool this week</span> <span>Credit: getty images </span>
Franz Beckenbauer was impressed by what he saw from Liverpool this week Credit: getty images

“We are friends, even if we don’t talk a lot, but I am not surprised that he said positive things about me. When he always speaks about me, he speaks positively.

“It is just like the king knighting a man ‘Sir’. There is no bigger football legend in Germany than Franz Beckenbauer. It is great.

“It is a compliment to Liverpool, but Bayern have done most things right in the last 10 or 15 years without making many mistakes.

“Hopefully in 50 or 60 years, I will be remembered without referring to managing many different clubs. I am happy with the clubs I’ve had now.”

With Liverpool locked in a thrilling fight with Manchester City for the Premier League title, and facing FC Porto in the last eight of the Champions League, they are alive and kicking in the two biggest competitions.

They could have a glorious last two months of the season, but whatever happens, the consensus is that Liverpool are here to stay.

There has been clear and obvious progress since Klopp walked through the doors at Anfield in October 2015, but as yet, it is a case of three lost finals and no silverware, which everyone at the club is desperate to change.

Next up is their trip to Fulham on Sunday afternoon, needing a victory to take them back above City heading into the international break, and with only seven matches to go in the title race.

“Liverpool is a really good fit for me,” Klopp said. “I love it. There are a lot of opportunities to develop an already really good football team. So let’s work and try to make the most of it.

“I have enough confidence to say I am the right manager for this club at the moment, but we will see how it is in the future.

“We are at the right place, but we all constantly have to prove ourselves. So far, it has worked out, and hopefully it will last a lot longer. That would be cool. We are very happy about the situation and very positive about the future. We are fine with what we’ve done so far, but now we have to finish the season the best way possible.

“It is a big opportunity. We have improved a lot, but people judge it only on winning titles. We know that, but we can change it in the future.”

Any thoughts that Sunday’s match against Fulham would be easy were swiftly dismissed by midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum.

“They are struggling, fighting to survive, and that is always difficult to play against, those teams,” said Wijnaldum. “Fulham will make it as difficult as possible, and we have to be focused.”

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