Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed that he wanted to punch himself after he failed to sign Sadio Mane for his former club Borussia Dortmund. The German coach wanted to secure the forward's services, when the latter was at Red Bull Salzburg.
The 24-year-old left the Austrian club and made a switch to Southampton in 2014. Two years later, he joined the Reds, where he is now playing under Klopp. The Senegalese international has been a star player for the Merseyside club this season, scoring six goals and registering two assists in 10 games.
Klopp has explained why he failed to sign Mane for his former club. The former Bundesliga manager admitted that his earlier pursuit of the player made it easier for him to sign Mane for Liverpool last summer.
"I wanted to punch myself. With Sadio it was pretty simple because I made the mistake at Dortmund where I didn't take him," Klopp explained, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.
"We talked. I think everyone knows we met each other and by the end I didn't feel (claps hands) this.
"Around about three months later I would have punched myself so I knew already that the next chance I had I would take it. So it was not difficult to take this decision, it was very easy.
"When the club came and when Michael Edwards said we have an opportunity. No talks were necessary any more. It was a case of 'let's do it'."
Klopp and Mane finally united at Anfield and the Liverpool boss is now a happy man after signing him for £30m ($37.1m). However, the 49-year-old admitted it would have cost the Premier League club even more, if they had to sign Mane from Dortmund instead of Southampton.
"It was more a feeling. We spoke and I liked the player. But at Dortmund in that position I was happy and we could only get one, not two or three, so it needed to be the right, exact fit in that moment," he said.
"Who did I sign instead? I've forgotten. There have been so many transfers. I'm not a genius so I couldn't exactly imagine the Austrian League where he was. What does it mean? What does it mean for the football? That's it. I have made more mistakes in my life like this actually.
"I think he would have been more expensive if we had taken him to Dortmund and then he had been sold to Liverpool, so all good for Liverpool! My first Liverpool decision, the more I think about it, nice!"