Liverpool will be looking to make amends for their 2018 Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid when they again take on the Spanish giants for Europe's top prize in Paris on Saturday (May 28).
After a campaign where Liverpool triumphed in both domestic cup competitions and came agonisingly close to dethroning Manchester City as Premier League champions, manager Juergen Klopp said on Wednesday (May 25) a seventh Champions League crown for the club would turn a "great season" into a "fantastic" one.
Speaking at a news conference at the club's training facility, Klopp said a third Champions League final in five years was a really "special" achievement for his group of players.
"Without (winning) the Champions League it would be a great season." JUERGEN KLOPP Said.
"with the Champions League, winning the Champions League, would be a fantastic season. As easy as that. So there are still levels. That's absolutely fine."
"We don't think that because we won our two competitions (FA Cup and League Cup) and were close in a third competition (Premier League) that... yeah, we wouldn't care about that. That's of course not the case. No. You never know how often you will reach a Champions League final, you better use the few opportunities you get. So for us it's now really special, the third time in the last five years. That's really special with this group."
Had Liverpool clinched the league title, the club would now be on course for an unprecedentred quadruple.
Klopp was recognised for his side's tilt at the feat when he was named the League Managers Association (LMA) and Premier League Manager of the Year on Tuesday (May 24).
Star forward Mohamed Salah spoke of the disappointment he felt when he came off injured in the 31st minute of Liverpool's 2018 final defeat to Real in Kyiv.
He had previously said he would rather face the Spanish La Liga champions than domestic rivals City to atone for the loss.
"I think I remember when I went out, after 30 minutes of something, it was like the worst moment in my career." MOHAMED SALAH Said.
"I was really, really down in that time, because playing the (final of the) Champions League... I'd had a good season that time, and just playing the Champions League and to come off after 30 minutes... (it's) like the worst thing that good happen to any football player. After the game, I knew the result - because I was in the hospital... I came back and found out from Hendo (Henderson), to be fair... And I was like 'we cannot lose this way."
"I've never had that feeling before in football. Especially because it was the first Champions League (final) for all of us; for most of us. So we lost it and we were very, very disappointed, but I think after that summer we came back, we talked to each other. I think Hendo and me talked in the dressing room, if I remember rightly, and we said we'll go again for everything, and we managed to win it the year after. So that was also, kind of, revenge, in a way. But I think we managed it in the best way possible."
Salah, who is heading into the final year of his contract with the club, says he will be staying at Liverpool next season regardless of how future talks over his deal progress.
The 29-year-old, who was joint top scorer in the Premier League with 23 goals this season, would be available on a free transfer at the end of the next campaign if he does not sign a contract extension.
With the Paris showdown against Madrid only days away, the Egyptian told reporters it was not the right moment to deal with contract negotiations.
Klopp also told reporters that Thiago Alcantara's injury is not as bad as feared raising the prospect that he could feature in final.
However, t he Spanish midfielder, who appeared to pull a muscle during Sunday's final Premier League game against Wolverhampton Wanderers, did not feature in Liverpool's Wednesday morning training session.
Klopp said Thiago would likely be involved in Thursday's session.
Central defender Virgil van Dijk, who has not featured for Liverpool since picking up an injury during the FA Cup final victory over Chelsea on May 14, is fully recovered and trained with the rest of the squad.
Published : May 26, 2022
By : Reuters