Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has claimed that his current squad is the best that he has ever taken to a cup final.
The German guided his side to last season’s Champions League final against Real Madrid and took the lead through Saido Mane on 55 minutes, only for a mixture of errors from goalkeeper Loris Karius and an inspired Gareth Bale to secure a 3-1 win for the Spanish giants.
Tottenham Hotspur will be their opponents in the European showpiece on Saturday in Madrid with Klopp believing that last season’s loss will be an advantage going into the tie.
Klopp told the Guardian: “I have never been part of a final with a better team than this. Our boys mixed our potential with attitude in the best way I have witnessed. That is brilliant, exceptional, and it brought us where we are. In the days between Barcelona and Barcelona I would say nobody believed more in this team than the team themselves. That is why we are here.
“It is a sensational situation. We didn’t expect it, we wanted it really desperately but it looked like it slipped through our fingers in the group stage when we struggled in the away games. But we did it in the most mature way.”
When asked about the heartbreak of last season’s loss to Madrid, Klopp believes his players are mentally focused for the match ahead, adding: “It had a big influence on us,”
“When we stood in the queue in the airport in Kiev on the way home, all in tracksuits, heads down, disappointed, there was a lot of different emotions. But the plan was, we come again. Now we are there, that is just incredible.
“I think every team that loses a final thinks they will put it right. They don’t all have the chance. We do. It was the kickstart for the development of this team. From the first day of pre-season when we were all together, it was a big step for the boys. This team is not even to be compared with the team of last year. Last year we wanted to be in Kiev. This year we wanted to win it wherever the final is. There’s a big difference just in our mindset.”
Tottenham will certainly be looking to derail Liverpool’s European hopes to add to their misery of a second place finish in the Premier League.
Harry Kane is expected to be named in the Spurs squad, Kane has scored 24 goals in all competitions for his club this season, despite missing six weeks in January and February with damaged ligaments in the same ankle along with the last few weeks of the campaign.
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