Interview with Timo Werner: ‘I have no regrets choosing Chelsea over Liverpool’


imo Werner seemed destined to wear Liverpool red. He was so often linked with FA Cup final opponents Chelsea on Saturday that he seemed convinced he would join fellow German, Jurgen Klopp, on Merseyside.

The Liverpool manager had, after all, been following Werner since his days at Stuttgart – trying to sign him for Borussia Dortmund.

And Klopp was at the front of a queue of Premier League clubs desperate to lure Werner to these shores when it was clear he was set to leave RB Leipzig in the summer of 2020.

It’s easy to imagine the 26-year-old thriving in Liverpool’s fluid attack, complementing the talents of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

But it was Chelsea who acted the fastest – rushing to knock out competition from not just Klopp, but also Manchester United and Tottenham, in a £45m deal, while Liverpool have turned to Diogo Jota.

There must have been times when Werner wondered ‘what if’ during two seasons at Stamford Bridge in which he admits he has never experienced such struggles. Still, he insists, he has no regrets about which team he will line up for at Wembley.

He is coy about the proximity of a move to Anfield. “The only thing I can say is that they have a German manager,” he said. standard sports. “I have known him for many years before, because when I was at Stuttgart he was talking about going to Dortmund. Then I didn’t play so well, so it was done.

“When I was at Leipzig I had the possibility to come to the Premier League. Liverpool was also in my thoughts and was a big possibility for me, but in the end I decided for Chelsea and won the title of the Champions League last year. It was not the worst decision.”

Werner praises Klopp. “He’s one of the best coaches we’ve had in Germany,” he said.

“Not to attack our manager, but in the last few years he has won the most titles. He has a very nice personality – a personality that the Germans love, because he looks fun.

“Germans like guys like Thomas Muller, Jurgen Klopp – they have empathy. They say what they think, and that’s very important in this business, not to pretend.

“He is real. He’s a funny guy and also, with his power on the sidelines, he tries to bring people with him. That’s what we Germans like.

Werner is full of praise for fellow German Tuchel, who won the Champions League within four months of being parachuted in to salvage Chelsea’s season last year. Tomorrow will be his sixth final since taking charge at Stamford Bridge.

“He’s at a level now where when you say who the best managers are, you only have now Klopp, him and [Pep] Guardiola maybe,” adds Werner.

Werner is the first to admit he struggled to replicate the form at Chelsea that made him one of the most sought after strikers in European football.

Action images via Reuters

At one point this season he went 16 games without scoring which raised serious questions about his future at Stamford Bridge. This barren run follows last season, when he scored just four goals in 40 games from November to the end of the campaign.

“It was a bit strange,” he says. “I think last season it was like every chance I missed was followed by a VAR decision that was discarded. There were always more and more. If I got half the goals allowed by VAR, which were denied, I would have gotten 15 Premier League goals and 25 or 30 in total – and it would have been a normal season for me.

“But you have to keep going and that’s what I’ve learned in two seasons. It can’t always go up.

“The five years before Chelsea, the last year was always up. I have never had so many problems in terms of scoring as last year. But in the end, it helps you, it takes you to another level.

Tuchel has admitted that it can be difficult to be a striker under him, such are the physical demands he places on them.

I know what I can do, because I’ve done it in the past, maybe 100 times.

“I think it may be [demanding]because a lot of forwards this season have struggled a bit,” Werner explains, but he refuses to make excuses.

“I had so many disappointing moments when I can normally score. I know what I can do, because I’ve done it in the past, maybe 100 times. I think that was a lot on me too , a lot on my head to clear things up in front of goal.

In recent weeks, it feels like Werner has reached a milestone in his Chelsea career. He starts regularly and finds the back of the net.

A goal at Wembley tomorrow – particularly against Klopp’s Liverpool – would be the perfect way to highlight that.

standard Sport

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