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Jürgen Klopp eager for Real redemption
Picture the scene. A sunbed by a hotel swimming pool in Las Vegas in May 2014. A German holidaymaker is trying to
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relax, to clear his mind of everything involving work, but his repose keeps being disturbed by noises off.
“There was a football match on television and a lot of people were watching it,” Jürgen Klopp says, taking up the story. “It was Real Madrid v Atlético in the Champions League final and everyone was shouting in Spanish. I was kind of annoyed by hearing the noise, because I had been trying to ignore the game. I didn’t want to watch it, I had no clue who had scored or who had won, because it was still painful to think of what had happened the year before.
“A year ago it had been different, we [Borussia Dortmund] had been in the final at Wembley. It’s not nice when you lose a final, and I have lost a few, but I will always try again. Being there is a big thing, it is unbelievable. Most people in the world try their whole life and don’t go to one final, but when you are there you need luck in specific moments.
“What I learned from the game against Bayern Munich in 2013 is that when you are much better in the first part of the game you need to score. It helps a lot! I still haven’t watched the game back but the thing about finals is that someone has to suffer. All the people shouting in 2014 were Spanish, whereas the year
before they had all been German, and that’s a good thing about football. That is absolutely OK but you must also learn that
if something is really important to you, you have to be ready for suffering. That is how life is.”
If it sounds as if the Liverpool manager would not have been much of a social butterfly on that holiday he would make considerably better company at the moment. Another final awaits, a chance at redemption against Real Madrid in Kiev, and despite finishing on the losing side in the two major European finals he has reached, the 50‑year-old is ready to go again.
“Two weeks after a really nice season, we have a fantastic finish,” he says. “Coming in to work this morning I saw a car with two flags, Liverpool Champions League final Kiev, so it has started already. It’s really cool, we have the sort of smile on our face that you can pretty much only get from football, and one of the rules in sport is that the more you try the more likely you are to do it. But of course there are no guarantees. If guarantees are what you want then don’t qualify for a final. Stay at home or book a holiday.”
Applying the same logic to Real Madrid – the more times you try the more likely you are to succeed – makes Liverpool
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clear underdogs. The Spanish side have featured in three of the last four finals, winning each time, and having already become the first club in the Champions League era to win back to back titles they are now going for three in a row.
“Yes they are favourites, they know
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they can write their own scripts because they have [now] experienced it four times in the last five years,” Klopp says, only a little wistfully. “There have been three dominant clubs in the last few years, and we are facing one of them. I have no problem with the situation and I don’t feel like an underdog. Liverpool were absolutely not favourites in 2005, and that was before they went 3-0
“To be honest, we like the role we are in. We like the situation and we are in a good moment. Real Madrid
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are a side of the highest quality going for three wins in three years, but we are Liverpool. That’s something not to forget.”
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