Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has admitted that his admiration for Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson may have been different if the two had met in opposing dugouts.
Ahead of the Reds' huge Premier League clash at Old Trafford on Sunday, Klopp has admitted that he enjoys a good relationship with Ferguson and that the former United manager has been a figure of inspiration for him as a coach.
However, Klopp acknowledged that a distance between his and Ferguson's careers is key to the pair's friendship. As quoted by the Mirror, Klopp said of the United legend: "I always admired him. From a distance it's easy.
"I'm not sure how it would have been if I was here 20 years at Liverpool and you always have this battle all the time then maybe it's different.
"He was a very competitive guy saying some things before he played against Liverpool. I'm pretty sure when he was in charge he didn't want us [Liverpool] to be successful.
"Maybe he doesn't want that now but the opinion is probably not that strong anymore because he said already a couple of times, I heard, that he likes what we are doing here. That's the thing."
Klopp went on to admit that Ferguson is "one of the biggest if not the biggest in world football" of football greats, as the Liverpool boss added: "He is a fantastic person. I met a couple of times.
"My English is now good enough to understand him. I remember the first time sitting together we met at Nyon, where the manager's meeting was for the Champions League coaches, and nobody was there.
"I asked if someone was here and they said, 'Yes Sir Alex Ferguson is in the breakfast room'. I came in and he was like, 'Oh Jurgen, come here'. I came in and for the first half an hour I had no clue what we were talking about because of the Scottish thing.
"I tried to be really, really friendly and step by step I got it. It's still the same with Kenny [Dalglish]. He is a really nice person. I respect him a lot. Obviously he thinks I'm not completely blind as a manager so that's good."