Jürgen Klopp has described Sir Alex Ferguson as the “John Lennon of football” possibly the greatest manager the game has seen.

Speaking ahead of Liverpool’s meeting with Manchester United, Klopp admitted he was full of admiration for the former United manager.

“I had a few really good moments with Sir Alex,” Klopp said. “It’s a big honour to talk to Sir Alex. For a manager it’s nearly the best thing you can do, to sit there and listen. I needed 10 minutes to understand what he was saying and then it was OK.

“Maybe he is the greatest ever, the John Lennon of football or something like this. From my side there is a big amount of respect. What he did in his life as a manager is not easy for someone else to do it.

“What he said about me? I don’t know. I think it was positive because we had a good time together. It is good that he is concerned but I have to prove it. We need a little time. We can make a big step but not the biggest step. It is Man United, there is enough to think about.

“It’s a special game for me, the players and the club. I enjoyed the atmosphere against Arsenal but we can do better. Everybody who was in the stadium on Wednesday, if he or she can get tickets again then do it again.”

Ferguson admitted he was worried about the prospect of Klopp reviving Liverpool’s fortunes when the German coach was appointed last year.

Jurgen Klopp

Klopp has been an animated presence on the touchline since his arrival in England.

Klopp meanwhile, faced current United boss Louis van Gaal as Bayern Munich coach during his time at Borussia Dortmund, but this will be the first time the pair have clashed on English soil.

“I am not too close with news about United,” said the German. “Louis van Gaal is one of the most successful managers in world. He has won a lot of titles, not only in Germany. He has a special idea about football and we have to respect him as an opponent.

“We have met a few times and had some intensive games. We both want to be successful and both need to work towards getting there. It’s a different idea about football but I wouldn’t say that one is a better idea. We have similar possession in games I think but we are different characters. He is more experienced, I am bit more lively on the sideline which maybe isn’t all good. The good news for everyone is that it’s not one-on-one, Jurgen Klopp versus Louis van Gaal.

“A game against Man United is a bit like Dortmund v Schalke. It is important for the table, we are close together and both need the points to stay close to top of table, but it’s Manchester United. It would not be important for the table if we had a 20 point lead at the top but this game would be important still. I love derbies to be honest. It’s the salt in the soup. They are the best matches to perform.”