We have unfinished business in the Champions League – Klopp

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.

  • Liverpool 3 AC Milan 3 (Liverpool won 3-2 on penalties, Champions League final, Istanbul, May 2005)
  • Liverpool 3 West Ham United 3 (Liverpool won 3-1 on penalties, FA Cup final, Cardiff, May 2006)
  • Liverpool 3 Olympiacos 1 (Champions League Group Stage, Anfield, December 2004)
  • Liverpool 4 Newcastle 3 (Premier League, Anfield, April 1996)
  • Liverpool 4 Borussia Dortmund 3 (Europa League, Anfield, April 2016)

“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.

“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.

Liverpool v Barcelona – UEFA Champions League – Semi Final – Second Leg – Anfield
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (Peter Byrne/PA)

“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.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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