Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is looking to exorcise the ghosts of last year’s tearful Champions League final with victory in Madrid at the weekend.
The Egypt international left the pitch in Kiev barely able to hold back his emotions after a clash with Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos resulted in a shoulder injury.
His departure changed the dynamic of the game as the 44-goal forward had looked a threat to the defending champions.
While he has not been as prolific this campaign, scoring just 26 times, the Egyptian has still played a key part in a close-run title challenge and the run to a second-successive Champions League final.
“I am so happy that I have the chance to play another final. I hope I can play the full game this time,” he told beIN Sports.
“I am very excited for that. I hope we can right what happened last season, get a good result, and win the competition.”
Asked whether, in a dream scenario, he scored the goal which won the club their sixth European Cup Salah added: “Not just a dream. I hope it becomes a reality and I score in the final, then win the African Cup of Nations too.”
Unlike 12 months ago, Jurgen Klopp’s side head into the match against Premier League rivals Tottenham, playing their first final at this level, as favourites.
Salah believes that will not make as much difference as their experience will.
“I don’t think it will change much. All we have to do is stay focused on the game to win,” he said.
“Who’s favourite and who isn’t will not change what you have to do on the pitch.
“It could give us a bit of a boost, but it won’t be the main reason why a side wins a game.
“Of course this is our second final in a row. We lost the first, but everything feels better this time around and we have more experience than the last time.
“We are all looking forward and we had a good preparation period in Spain.
“We are now back in Liverpool, and we are feeling very motivated as players and coaching staff. I hope we can win it this time.”
Facing another Premier League side adds a different complexion to the match and Salah accepts a rival with whom they are so familiar adds another level.
“I think it will be tough. But at the end of the day, this is a final and no opponent would have been easy, even if it were Ajax, a team that beat Real Madrid and Juventus,” he added.
“But now we only think about Tottenham. It is harder because it is an English side, but any way we needed to win – whether it was against Ajax or Spurs.
“And that is the most important thing we want to do.”
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