JURGEN KLOPP and James Milner almost fought in the dressing room after Liverpool drew 2-2 at Sunderland four years ago.
Ex-Reds' defender Ragnar Klavan revealed the flare-up and claimed manager Klopp "would have gone all the way to prove his point" had vice-skipper Milner not backed off.
Klopp was feeling the heat, two trophy-less years into his Anfield reign.
And at the Stadium of Light in January 2017 Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe twice levelled with penalties after Daniel Sturridge and Sadio Mane netted.
With Milner having been hauled off at half-time, Estonia legend Klavan claims a scuffle nearly led to punches.
Klavan, now with home-country side Paide Linnameeskond, told Estonia's Betsafe Eesti Podcast: "The biggest pressure was around Christmas and at the beginning of January,
"One time, I don't remember who we played against. Maybe it was against Sunderland away.
"Klopp and James Milner almost started a physical fight…. but eventually Milner stepped back."
The draw left Liverpool second but sparked a winless month, before they revived to finish fourth and earn a Champions League return.
Klopp then turned the Reds into European kings in 2019 and lifted the Prem crown the following year.
And despite the German's tiff with Milner, Klavan believes Klopp's brilliant man-management skills are up there with his tactical abilities.
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The 127-cap star, 35, said: "He sensed the player and the team so well. He knew when to say what.
"If he saw there were problems in the team, he could turn it around with a simple joke – or vice versa, when the team didn't take it too seriously, then he showed them who's boss.
"That, for me, is his phenomenon. That he can read the team so well, and individually as well."
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