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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp expressed his shock at beating Bayern Munich counterpart Hansi Flick to The Best FIFA Men’s Coach award.

Flick was considered the favourite for the gong ahead of Thursday’s ceremony after guiding Bayern to a Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League treble last term.

But Klopp, who oversaw the Reds’ Premier League title success in 2019-20, ending a 30-year wait for a top-flight championship, beat his compatriot to take the prize for a second successive year. Leeds United’s Marcelo Bielsa came third.

The Liverpool boss accepted he was probably fortunate to see off competition from Flick.

“I’m grateful for it, obviously,” he told reporters on Friday. “From the first moment, like everybody else, I was looking at it a bit wide-eyed, like, how did that happen?

“I didn’t expect it, not at all, I thought Hansi Flick won pretty much everything in the last year and that that would be the case.

“I wanted to be there, to show respect, because last year in Milan when it was a really nice event – Mauricio Pochettino was there as well – and I thought that night that, if I would be nominated again, I would show up even if I have no chance to win it.

“Now with four different categories, more managers and players voted for me. The media and fans, more for Hansi Flick which I get completely – in the end it’s not my choice.

“I’m happy for it, it’s a special thing for my coaches and me, I saw them already, they are buzzing. If you would have asked me, ‘are you the world’s best coach?’ I would have said no.

“If you would ask me, ‘do you have the world’s best coaches around you?’ I would have said yes.

“We’ll take an award like this, it’s all good, there’s more important things in the world but it’s a nice one.”

Earlier on Thursday, the Premier League announced clubs had voted to not increase the number of substitutions allowed per team in each game from three to five, despite the sport’s lawmakers the International Football Association Board (IFAB) previously agreeing an extension to the rule.

Klopp had been arguably the most vocal manager in favour of increasing substitution allowance and he pointed the finger at the 10 clubs who opted against backing what he felt was an essential change for player welfare.

The Premier League did take up the option of increasing the numbers of substitutes available in a squad to nine from seven, though Klopp dismissed the importance of such a move.

“I think it’s two different decisions, not a compromise,” he added. “Come on, I don’t want to create headlines, everybody knows my opinion about the case – you have to ask other people.

“There are 10 clubs that voted against it, everybody knows the 10 clubs. It was not about the competition, not about advantages, it was only about player welfare. They voted against it.

“Pretty much only them in Europe – maybe the world – voted against it.

“I don’t know the percentage of leagues who have now five subs, I don’t know exactly, but there must be a good reason for it.

“In all these leagues there is competition, every club wants to win the league, every club wants to stay in the league, but here is the only league that doesn’t have it – the Championship decided differently. It’s not for me to give an answer, you’ll have to ask the other [teams].”

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December 18, 2020
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