Man Utd could have sabotaged Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool success with one move in 2013

Dung Grin

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    Liverpool entered 2020 as European and world champions after a sensational calendar year led by Jurgen Klopp, but things could have been drastically different had Manchester United followed up in their interest in Pep Lijnders before the Reds swooped in back in 2014. It has been a frustrating seven years for United ever since Sir Alex Ferguson retired after winning the club’s last Premier League title. The Red Devils are on their fourth manager since Ferguson left the club with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer taking the helm. David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho tried and failed to return the club to the top of English football. And Solskjaer has similarly struggled to close the gap to those battling at the top of the league with United currently sitting fifth in the table. More frustrating for United though is seeing arch rivals Liverpool flying high and on the verge of clinching their first league title since 1990. JUST IN: Transfer news LIVE - latest news and gossip as Manchester United and Liverpool eye January deals The Reds have slowly been on the rise ever since Klopp took charge back in October 2015. They’re still unbeaten in knockout games in European competition under Klopp having reached the Europa League final in 2016 and the Champions League final in 2018 before winning the coveted trophy a year later. Last season saw Liverpool break all kinds of records only to agonisingly miss out on the title despite having accumulated an incredible 97 points. And there was one key staff member who likely played a huge role in Liverpool’s transformation after re-joining the club in the summer of 2018 - Pep Lijnders. DON'T MISS LeBron James drops Liverpool kit hint after Nike deal as fans react Maddison offers 'guarantee' to Man Utd while Sancho deal is a gamble How Man Utd could line up if Ajax duo Van de Beek and Ziyech sign Trending READ MORE Dortmund make Jadon Sancho transfer decision amid Man Utd links The Dutch coach first moved to Liverpool in 2014 to become the club’s under-16s coach. But The Athletic report United had been interested in taking Lijnders on board the year before, only for Ferguson’s retirement to halt their approach. Lijnders would then spend a number of years at Liverpool working his way up through Kirkby where he played a huge role in the development of Trent Alexander-Arnold. Brendan Rodgers soon drafted him up to Melwood and was promoted to the Northern Irishman’s backroom staff as first-team development coach. READ MORE How Man Utd would line up with 11 shocking Ed Woodward transfers When Rodgers was sacked, Liverpool made it clear to Klopp that Lijnders would stay on such was his impact on the Reds’ board. After a few years of working with Klopp’s backroom staff, Lijnders took a chance in January 2018 to become manager of Eerste Divisie side NEC in the hope of promoting them to the Eredivisie, only to leave five months later to re-join with Liverpool after an invitation from the Reds boss to return. The