Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he does not view Liverpool’s Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich as personal.
The German will renew hostilities with the Bundesliga champions, a side who he has vast experience against from his tenure in charge of Borussia Dortmund from 2008 to 2015.
Klopp led Dortmund to the league title twice and finished as runners-up on two occasions behind the Bavarians, who also came out on top in the 2013 Champions League final at Wembley.
Ahead of Bayern’s visit to Anfield on Tuesday, Klopp was asked if his history against the club made the tie any more meaningful.
Klopp said: I don’t feel like this. Obviously a couple of people called me in the last few days to say in Germany it’s going mad because of this game, but that’s how it is.
Making kind of these personal battles out of it I don’t understand.
Yes, I was manager of Dortmund and had a bit of success there, but it was always difficult to play against Bayern. To beat them was the biggest challenge you could face in German football, always. And sometimes we did it and sometimes we didn’t, but that’s pretty much all.
So I don’t see it like a personal thing for me. It is two big clubs facing each other and I am really happy to be part of this game. It’s a big one. It is a game you want to see.
Liverpool sit second behind Manchester City in the Premier League on goal difference as they target their first league title in 29 years, but Klopp, who is yet to win a major trophy since arriving at Anfield in October 2015, led his side to the Champions League final last season.
That’s maybe the biggest achievement so far for my team – that we are back not only in the competition but as well that people think we could win it, Klopp added.
That’s good, but still, a lot of work to do.
Last week, Bayern president Uli Hoeness was quoted by Suddeutsche Zeitung as saying of Klopp: I had already arranged a co-operation with him many years ago, until we then signed Jurgen Klinsmann (in 2008).
When asked about that at Monday’s news conference, Klopp said: The 2008 story was in the public years ago. And it is pretty much all the truth, apart from (the claim) that I was angry in the session afterwards, when they called me and said they had decided on the other Jurgen.
I was not angry. I never expected that they would go for me. I was a second division manager (at Mainz) in Germany, and who would expect that Bayern calls you? It was more of a shock in the first moment. Then a couple of days later they called and said they went for the other Jurgen.
All the rest is true. It was Uli Hoeness on the phone. So that’s not disrespectful. I would have never told it. It was not a story where you go around telling people ‘they asked me if I would go there’.
But when Uli Hoeness spoke about it then it was clear, I can easily confirm that’s how it was.