Soccer

Ralf Rangnick to Manchester United is ‘not good news’ for Liverpool and rivals, Jurgen Klopp warns

Ralf Rangnick with Jurgen Klopp in 2005

Jurgen Klopp has warned the Premier League that Ralf Rangnick will improve Manchester United and said his appointment is “not good news” for rival clubs.

Rangnick, who is the current sporting director at Lokomotiv Moscow, is set to join Manchester United as manager on an interim basis before moving into a consultancy role with the club next season, following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Klopp is a big admirer of Rangnick, who has been dubbed “the godfather of gegenpressing”, and the Liverpool manager has based much of his own coaching philosophy on his fellow German’s ideas.

“It’s a bit tricky, we usually don’t talk until they are confirmed,” Klopp told a news conference on Friday. “It’s obviously a really experienced manager, built famously two clubs [RB Leipzig and 1899 Hoffenheim] from nowhere to proper forces in Germany. The first concern is always a coach and that is what he is. United will be organised.

“Unfortunately another good manager is coming to England, and to Man United. United will be organised on the pitch. That’s obviously not good news for other teams.”

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The 63-year-old Rangnick began coaching in his 20s, and his long career has taken him via Stuttgart, Hannover 96 and Schalke 04, as well as Hoffenheim and Leipzig. Klopp came up against him on several occasions in the Bundesliga while coaching Mainz and Borussia Dortmund.

Klopp added: “He is highly regarded with the coaches. Where he has been he has done incredible jobs. He started as a young man at Stuttgart and then made his way up. I faced him when I was a young coach. He might have forgot that, but he called me a lot at Mainz.”

With United potentially improving under new stewardship, Klopp believes the Premier League is now stronger than ever. “The Premier League makes steps every year. It’s not about the top teams, the improvement of the league can be seen in positions below. Brighton, Villa, Arsenal, Wolves… It’s just the league is so strong, really tough and exciting. For sure it’s the best league I’ve had here so far.”

Klopp was talking ahead of Liverpool’s match with Southampton at Anfield on Saturday, with the Reds currently third in the table and looking to close the gap to leaders Chelsea. He praised Saints coach Ralph Hasenhuttl, saying his Liverpool side must be “creative” to make the breakthrough.

“Ralph is obviously organising a proper team there. They maybe expect not to have majority of possession, they start very often 4-4-2 and can change to five at the back in the game. They are a very well drilled team. We have to be creative to break them down.”

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