Neil Warnock claims he could have signed Virgil van Dijk for £6 million ($8m) at Crystal Palace, only to be told by his chief scout that the Netherlands international was "too slow".
The Netherlands international has been in imperious form thus far this season, with the Reds conceding just three goals in the Premier League.
Van Dijk's play has seen him begin to justify the world-record £75 million ($96m) fee Liverpool paid to secure him from Southampton in January.
The 27-year-old will play this weekend when the Reds face Cardiff City, Warnock's current club.
And Warnock says that, when he was at Selhurst Park, he had the chance to secure the defender from Celtic for a cut-rate fee.
“I’m delighted he’s playing like he is,” Warnock told reporters.
“We could have bought him at Palace for £6m but my chief scout told me he was too slow. I think he’s still in a job as well!”
Liverpool have yet to lose a Premier League game this season, winning seven and drawing two of their opening nine games, an identical record to Manchester City.
The two sides are only separated by goal difference, with Pep Guardiola's side having scored 10 more goals than the Reds, and Warnock has expressed his admiration for Klopp.
“I like the way he is,” Warnock said. “He cares, he is passionate. He pulls some faces, doesn’t he? He’s got everything really.
“It must be lovely being in charge of a team like that but he’s created it. They haven’t always been like that. He saw what weaknesses there were and he’s shored them up.
“He’s an exceptional manager. We’re very lucky to have the managers that we have in what is the best league in the world.”