Jürgen Klopp has admitted Liverpool never had a chance of signing Erling Haaland during the January transfer window, when the Norway international joined Borussia Dortmund from Red Bull Salzburg.
Haaland was linked with most top sides in Europe during the winter transfer window, but the 19-year-old and his agent Mino Raiola ultimately decided on a move to Germany - snubbing Salzburg's sister club in Leipzig in the process.
Liverpool were briefly linked with Haaland last month, as were Manchester United, but Klopp has insisted the Norway international was only ever going to move to Borussia Dortmund thanks to what they could offer.
"Dortmund needed a striker," Klopp said, quoted by the Liverpool Echo. "Everybody blames Man Utd for not getting him, but we wouldn’t have got him. We couldn’t have got him. It’s as easy as that. He wanted a top team, as soon as possible, with an open space...Borussia Dortmund.
“That’s timing. I hope you know how much I love and respect the people at Dortmund, but it’s not that they made a perfect approach and did this and that, it was more they were there, had the space, number nine...‘here we go, you are 19 years old, want to play Champions League, top end of Bundesliga, so go for it’.
"Nobody else had a chance, I’m pretty sure, no matter what they say."
Liverpool weren't able to sign Haaland, but they did get their hands on the 19-year-old's former Salzburg teammate Takumi Minamino. The Japan international has been on the fringes of their first team since arriving at Anfield, making just four appearances across all competitions.
It's a role that Minamino was only ever signed to fill and Klopp said it's useless trying to compare the Liverpool star's impact at the club with that of his former Salzburg teammate at Borussia Dortmund.
"We have no problems, nowhere really [for him to start] particularly in an offensive position, but we need variation at moments," he added.
"Haaland made a perfect choice with Dortmund, and Taki made a perfect choice...He is fine, is training really hard, but it’s a situation you can’t compare."
For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!