Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says he was surprised to learn Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney voted for him in the FIFA Coach of the Year awards.
The England captain, a boyhood Everton fan, was impressed by Klopp’s work at Liverpool in 2016, and also voted for Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri and Wales manager Chris Coleman.
Ranieri ultimately won the honour for guiding the Foxes to their Premier League triumph in the 2015-16 campaign, beating Portugal’s Fernando Santos and Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.
Klopp publicly defended Rooney after he was photographed allegedly drinking late into the night while on international duty in November.
When told of Rooney’s support, Klopp replied: “He did? Ha ha! Thank you, but it was not enough [to win]!
“I’m pretty sure it is to do with my reaction to him after the little incident. I’m pretty sure Wayne Rooney doesn’t think a lot about me. Why should he? He is a Manchester United player.
“Perhaps it is still to do a little bit with my time at Dortmund, so I always try to be nice — but I have no idea why he did it! ”
Liverpool travel to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon to take on Jose Mourinho’s United side in a huge Premier League showdown.
Klopp has faced teams managed by Mourinho six times throughout his managerial career — winning three times, drawing twice and only losing on one occasion.
Mourinho appeared to set up his United team to frustrate the free-scoring Liverpool when they met at Anfield in October, but Klopp said at a news conference on Friday that United are a “different side” since that goalless draw.
Even so, the Reds boss says he will not be taken by surprise should Mourinho adopt a similar approach.
“My coaches and I have played against Jose a few times,” Klopp added. “He is competitive, but so are we, that will not be the difference.
“How can you say 100 percent what they will do? I am not part of their meeting so you cannot say, perhaps they will have a different plan.
“Jose is a very competitive so if he thinks very deep against Liverpool makes sense, then I would not be too surprised.”