Jurgen Klopp had made no secret of his admiration for Christian Pulisic.
It was the Liverpool manager who promoted the USA international winger to train with Borussia Dortmund’s senior squad shortly after he arrived at their Academy during the 2014/15 season.
During Klopp’s first summer at Anfield the Reds failed with a bid of £11million for the exciting Pennsylvania-born youngster.
Klopp watched him blossom from afar as Liverpool continued to keep tabs on his progress.
There was a warm embrace when the pair were reunited in Pulisic’s homeland during last July’s pre-season tour of the States.
Pulisic made a big impact after coming off the bench in the friendly clash as he scored twice to inflict a 3-1 defeat on the Reds.
”If Christian would at one point join us, I don’t know,” Klopp said.
“But I like him and it’s not like that could be the problem. We respect contracts still and there is no market that I know about in the moment.
“I known him since he was a kid and he’s still not really old. He’s a fantastic player and it’s deserved that people think highly of him in America and in Germany it’s the same.
“If he wants to play in England one day or whatever and he, for sure, has the chance to do so.”
Six months on Pulisic has accepted that opportunity but it’s Stamford Bridge rather than Anfield which is his destination.
Chelsea have completed a £58million deal for the 20-year-old, who will be loaned back to Dortmund until the end of the season.
Dortmund had little option but to sell after Pulisic rejected their offer of a new contract.
Why didn’t Liverpool rival the Londoners for his signature? The answer is two-fold.
For a start, Pulisic wouldn’t get in Klopp’s starting line up. With Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Xherdan Shaqiri all operating at a ridiculously high level, the Reds boss is content with his attacking options.
The reality is that Liverpool haven’t seriously considered a move for Pulisic since they bought Shaqiri for £12.5million last summer.
The Swiss attacker was the Pulisic alternative and he was snapped up at an absolute bargain price. Pulisic is still more potential than proven quality having scored 15 goals in 115 games for Dortmund.
The size of the fee was also prohibitive. Liverpool wouldn’t buy a squad player for £58million and they certainly wouldn’t pay that for a squad player who had less than 18 months remaining on his contract.
Klopp happily left the way clear for Chelsea to swoop.