Jürgen Klopp: Ralf Rangnick’s arrival is bad news for rest of Premier League

Jürgen Klopp has described the imminent arrival of Ralf Rangnick at Manchester United as bad news for the rest of the Premier League as the Old Trafford side “will be organised on the pitch”.

Klopp has been friends with the 63-year-old since starting his managerial career at Mainz and believes Liverpool’s fierce rivals have made an astute choice for their interim manager. He expects Rangnick to rectify the failings that prompted Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s sacking, and which Liverpool exploited in their 5-0 rout of United last month, by turning a collection of expensive individuals into a coherent team.

Rangnick has agreed to join United as interim manager with a consultancy role to follow, starting from June 2022.

“Unfortunately a good coach is coming to England, that’s how it is, to Manchester United,” the Liverpool manager said. “Ralf is obviously a really experienced manager. He most famously built two clubs from nowhere to proper threats and forces in Germany with Hoffenheim and [RB] Leipzig. He did a lot of different jobs in football but always his first concern was being a coach and a manager. That’s what his best skill is.

“United will be organised on the pitch, we should realise that, and that’s obviously not good news for other teams. But all coaches in the world need time to train with our teams and Ralf will pretty quickly realise he has no time to train as they play all the time, so that makes it a bit tricky for him. Apart from that, a really good man and an outstanding coach, if it happens, will come to England.”

Rangnick has been cited as a major influence on a generation of successful German coaches, Klopp included, and the Liverpool manager insists his reputation is merited. He added: “Between the coaches [in Germany] he is very highly regarded and wherever he was he did an incredible job. He started early as a very young man at Stuttgart coaching the second team and going from there. I’m pretty sure he then went to Ulm and took them to the Bundesliga which was insane at that time.

“We faced each other for the first time when I was a very young coach and he was at Hanover. He might have forgotten that. They always played our opponent the week later, so he called me, the young manager at Mainz, and asked plenty of questions. I was happy that big Ralf Rangnick was calling me but he got all the information he needed. They got promoted, and we didn’t, so he still owes me something! In the football world in Germany he is very well regarded and rightly so.”

Rangnick’s influence on German coaches extends to Thomas Tuchel, whom he managed at Ulm and started on the path towards a coaching career by bringing him into Stuttgart’s academy.

“He helped me a lot, because he was my coach and then he was one of the main figures to convince me to try coaching,” said Chelsea’s manager. “He had a huge influence on all of us at this time. He showed us that it’s not necessary to follow people to the toilet in football games, because that was the belief in these days, that defenders follow strikers wherever they go. He showed us it’s possible to defend everybody in a zone.”

Tuchel praised Rangnick’s influence on German football. “For sure he is an elite manager. He was one of the very first to implement a back four in Germany and introduce the style of not man-marking and still being aggressive, and was one of the pioneers to introduce a 4-4-2 and high pressing. Still he is one of the leaders of this development in German football so tactically for sure he is an elite coach.”

Asked why Rangnick has not had an elite job before, Tuchel said: “So far he focussed on giving himself a certain amount of freedom to be in charge and he found himself in Hoffenheim, to get them to the top division and into international football. He found the same environment at an even higher level with Red Bull Leipzig.

“You can call it enterprise. In these environments he was the decisive person and he found a managing role far more than only the coach. Maybe this was the key stopping him from stepping into every offer that he got for sure. He was very early a leader in bringing zonal marking and pressing and the line of a back four into German football. So big credit for that.”