Ralf Rangnick has described the evolution of Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp as “no coincidence” – because his career has involved developing a number of their critical talents.
The Manchester United interim boss, whose future beyond the end of this season appears unclear.
They can point to a host of Liverpool players and say he had an essential role in their careers.
Rangnick, 63, is regarded as one of football’s best strategists during his various roles with the RB group.
This includes Leipzig and Salzburg, whom he helped bring through Keita, Konate, and Minamino.
Before that, he was coach when Hoffenheim signed Roberto Firmino from Figueirense.
Albeit leaving within weeks of that deal being agreed, while Rangnick coached Joel Matip at Schalke.
Therefore, it is remarkable that Rangnick has ended up in charge of Liverpool’s most fierce rivals, whom United will face at Anfield in the Premier League on Tuesday.
Rangnick said of Liverpool:
“They are good. They are perfect. It’s no coincidence that they’re as good as they are.
“Jurgen has built that team over the last six and a half years. Six or seven of those players used to be my – or our – players.”
Klopp’s Liverpool plays a similar high-tempo game to the Leipzig and Salzburg teams that Rangnick oversaw, meaning the players acquired have been a natural fit for Klopp’s Reds.
“We signed them for our clubs when nobody knew them,” said Rangnick, “and again, it’s no coincidence that this is probably the club with the highest number of players from our former clubs.
“Their approach, their style of football, the way they want to play is pretty similar.”
Rangnick’s United side beat Norwich City 3-2 on Saturday in the Premier League thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick, and it vaulted them to fifth place in the table.
However, that treble papered over some rather significant cracks.
And Rangnick warned afterwards there would need to be a considerable improvement against Liverpool.
United was chaotic at times, particularly in defence, and Rangnick said:
“Even the reason the club contacted me in November was that we just conceded too many goals too readily.
“We reduced the number of goals conceded, but the way we defend is still not the standard we need to be a top-four club.”
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