Timo Werner has explained his decision to join free-spending Chelsea over Liverpool this summer despite his admiration for Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, ahead of their Premier League clash on Sunday.
The German, who was heavily linked with a switch to Anfield, signed for the Blues in a £47.5 million ($61 million) move in June as part of owner Roman Abramovich’s spending spree at Chelsea this summer.
He told The Athletic about nearly joining Liverpool: “In another world, it could have happened. If LFC call, you have to listen and think about it. They are one of the best teams on the world, with a super coach – a German coach to boot. Of course you think about that.
“But in the end, my decision went Chelsea’s way. Not because there was anything wrong with Liverpool. But at Chelsea, the whole package was a better fit for me.”
Werner is one of several high-profile arrivals at Stamford Bridge this summer, along with compatriot Kai Havertz, Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech and England international Ben Chilwell.
The 24-year-old signed for Chelsea on the back of the most prolific campaign of his career, having returned an impressive 34 goals in 45 games for RB Leipzig last season, as well as contributing 13 assists.
He revealed that a discussion with Blues manager Frank Lampard about his plans for the team played a key role in swaying him toward the London club.
“He was very relaxed, asking me how I saw things, how I felt about playing here or there.
“And I was able to voice my opinion as well. He listened. In many aspects, we were in close agreement. He wants to play a pressing game, taking the game to the opposition, with quick transitions but to be good in possession as well.
“He said, ‘Timo, you will be free to make the right moves on the pitch, I trust you.’ It was a very good conversation.”
Werner did not manage to score on his Chelsea debut when they beat Brighton and Hove Albion 3-1 last Monday, but he did win a penalty for Jorginho’s opener.
He’ll be hoping to open his account at home to Liverpool on Sunday, although the fact that he’ll be coming up against the side he almost signed for won’t be serving as added motivation.
“It would be wrong to approach the game that way,” he said. “Showing the other team how good I am and what they’re missing can’t be the main motivation to perform. So it’s not about that for me.”
Nevertheless, he’ll be desperate to continue Chelsea’s winning start to the campaign and get an early leg-up on the Reds, who finished 33 points ahead of them last season.
The Blues finished fourth in the Premier League last campaign, but they won’t be happy with anything less than a sustained title challenge given their level of spending this summer.
Liverpool have won each of their last three league meetings with Chelsea, including a 5-3 thriller when they faced off in July, but Lampard will be hoping the new firepower provided by the likes of Werner and Havertz will help them close the gap.