‘It’s the fourth final we are in, that’s pretty special already’ – Klopp looking to buck losing trend in Madrid

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‘It’s the fourth final we are in, that’s pretty special already’ – Klopp looking to buck losing trend in Madrid


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates after the UEFA Champions League Semi Final win over Barcelona. Photo credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates after the UEFA Champions League Semi Final win over Barcelona. Photo credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire.

Manager Jurgen Klopp feels Liverpool have unfinished business with the Champions League after the manner of their 2018 final defeat to Real Madrid in Kiev.

Just under 12 months ago his side were well in the game in Kiev at 1-1 despite losing Mohamed Salah, who was in the form of his life with 44 goals that season, early in the first half.

However, a brilliant overhead kick by Gareth Bale and the second of two errors by goalkeeper Loris Karius gave Madrid a 3-1 win. Klopp said that provided Liverpool part of the motivation for their run to a second successive final, achieved after brilliantly turning around a 3-0 deficit in Barcelona to win 4-3 on aggregate in one of the great nights – if not the greatest – at Anfield.

“Last year we really felt we have to go back: We have to go back, we cannot let it stand like this, that’s not possible,” said the Reds boss.

“Now we get another chance and we will go for that, of course. I’m not sure if it will happen again because it’s so special.”

Klopp said he admitted to his players beforehand he thought the task would be beyond most teams.

However, he said he had faith they, with the resilience they have shown this season in matching Manchester City almost point-for-point in the Premier League title race, could achieve something few others could. And he was right.

“How can you be sure before a game? I said to the boys: ‘I think it’s impossible but because it’s you we have a chance.’ And we believed in this chance,” he added.

“We didn’t compare it with Istanbul (Liverpool’s comeback from 3-0 down at half-time to beat AC Milan in the 2005 final) or whatever.

“We said from the beginning we want to create our own history – not because we are not happy about having the history of the club, no. Because we need new chapters obviously. And the boys did it already, that’s unbelievable.”

Klopp also paid tribute to the part the crowd played in what will go down as probably the most famous European night at Anfield.

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“We know this club is the mix of atmosphere, emotion, desire and football quality. Cut off one and it doesn’t work – we know that,” he added.

“If I have to describe this club then it’s a big heart and (last night) it was obviously like crazy, pounding like crazy.

“You could hear it and probably feel it all over the world. I’m so happy we could give the people this experience and I’m really happy about having another chance to get things right from our point of view.”

Klopp has guided Liverpool to a fourth final, three of which have been in Europe, including two in the Champions League, in three and a half years at the club.

He has yet to win one, while his career record is not much better losing the last six of the seven he has reached with the Reds and Borussia Dortmund.

However, he insists the progress which is being made is significant, a fact not lost on the players.

“I know what people say about me and losing finals, that’s absolutely right and OK and everything,” he said.

“But it’s the fourth final in that time as well we are in, that’s pretty special already.

“When I saw the boys after the game and saw the tears in their eyes, that’s football. They are professionals and it’s still like this.

“This club touches you like crazy, it’s like you feel much more than others in these moments. It’s really great, I love it.”

Jurgen Klopp’s final record:

2012 DFB-Pokal – Borussia Dortmund 5-2 Bayern Munich

Klopp’s Dortmund side completed the league and cup double with a goal-laden victory over Bayern Munich in the German cup final. Robert Lewandowski was the star of the show with a hat-trick, while Shinji Kagawa and Mats Hummels scored Dortmund’s other goals.

2013 Champions League – Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Bayern Munich

The following season ended with a replay in the Champions League final but this time it was Bayern who took revenge at Wembley. Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty had cancelled out Mario Mandzukic’s opener but Arjen Robben scored the winner at the death.

2014 DFB-Pokal – Borussia Dortmund 0-2 Bayern Munich

Klopp’s third final again pitted Dortmund against Bayern, and once again a tight encounter went the way of the Munich giants. It was goalless after 90 minutes but Robben and Thomas Muller scored in extra-time.

2015 DFB-Pokal – Borussia Dortmund 1-3 Wolfsburg

Klopp’s final season at Dortmund had an unhappy ending with another cup final defeat, this time to Wolfsburg. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Dortmund the lead early on but Wolfsburg scored three times before half-time through Luis Gustavo, Kevin De Bruyne and Bas Dost.

2016 League Cup – Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City, City won 3-1 on penalties

Klopp’s first season at Anfield brought a trip to Wembley to face Manchester City but there was no change in his final fortunes. Philippe Coutinho struck late in normal time to cancel out Fernandinho’s opener but Coutinho, Lucas Leiva and Adam Lallana all missed in the penalty shoot-out.

2016 Europa League – Liverpool 1-3 Sevilla

After beating Manchester United and his old club Dortmund, Klopp guided Liverpool to his second European final. Daniel Sturridge put the Reds in front against Sevilla but the Spanish side equalised just after the break through Kevin Gameiro and Coke scored twice to turn the game around.

2018 Champions League – Liverpool 1-3 Real Madrid

Loris Karius and Gareth Bale were the central figures in another final loss for Klopp. After a goalless first half, Karius threw the ball against Karim Benzema for an opener that was quickly cancelled out by Sadio Mane. Bale came on as a substitute and scored a spectacular overhead kick before clinching victory with a long-range effort that went through Karius.

Press Association


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