Liverpool beat Barcelona to the signing of Naby Keita, according to RB Leipzig chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff.
The Reds agreed a club-record £48million move for Keita this past summer, with the move going through next summer.
But Liverpool faced competition from La Liga giants Barcelona for the midfielder, with Jurgen Klopp proving key in negotiations.
“That’s right, even more so because Barcelona were also interested in Naby Keita,” Mintzlaff told SportBild when asked whether Klopp’s perseverance had been key.
“This was confirmed to us by Barcelona, but obviously they didn’t try as hard as Liverpool.”
Keita was eager to complete the move this summer, but Mintzlaff has explained why Leipzig sought to hold on to him for 12 more months.
“He wanted the transfer this summer,” he said. “But (sporting director) Ralf Rangnick told the team that we will not sell any players (at that time).
“This was not lip service – it was set in stone. Had we released Keita, other players might have come up with a similar idea.
“It (the Liverpool move) gave the player more security, but also left us with a significantly higher transfer fee.”