When Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s name once again started doing the rounds on the rumor mill, Liverpool supporters might have hoped that Jürgen Klopp could help the Reds capture the Borussia Dortmund star they failed to capture two years ago. Instead, Mkhitaryan made his way to the worst possible club, top rivals Manchester United.
Klopp, unsurprisingly, was unfazed and uninterested by this latest turn of events.
“I had that player,” Klopp said in a manner of an ex who does not want to repeat the past. “If you have had players, you know more about them. You want to learn about other players. That's how it is.”
“I knew quite early that he was going this way [to Old Trafford]. There was absolutely no reason for me to jump in there. That isn’t how we work. We didn’t look for players we had already worked with. If you do that, you know their good, their bad, and you wonder whether you will do it again.”
This explanation works well for the Mkhitaryan chase (or lack thereof), but doesn’t explain away the Mario Götze links that persisted throughout the spring and early summer. The difference, perhaps, is in the ages and development of the perspective players.
“It’s not boring but you know everything about each other so how can you develop?” Klopp continued. “Where is the next step? Where is the next push for development? We could have gone for a lot of players. But, first of all, you have to think: what do I need?”
Indeed, at 27-years-old there was little left Klopp could do with Mkhitaryan in terms of development. Götze and eventual Liverpool capture Sadio Mané, on the other hand, are both 24.
Anyway, based on these comments, Liverpool supporters should probably take future links to former Klopp players with an even larger grain of salt.