In a sport where statistics now seem as part and parcel of the game as a sides’ tactics, there is one doing the rounds that rival fans have latched onto almost as soon as Jürgen Klopp took over at Liverpool. Since 2013 Klopp has reached 5 finals with Dortmund and Liverpool respectively but to date his only victories have come in the DFB-Pokal Final in 2011-12 and 3 German DFL Supercups in 2007, 2012 and 2013, all with Dortmund.
Despite this record, these defeats haven’t seemed to cause our Gaffer any sleepless nights. He remains convinced that if his side put in their best performance and have that little rub of luck that all teams need in a major final, the win will come. In a recent interview Klopp even stated that in the final on Saturday it’s how the players deal with the current European champions and favourites Real Madrid, and not how he himself copes. The philosophy remains clear and is unlikely to change even when up against a side who are vastly more experienced than Liverpool in terms of playing in major finals.
This Champions League campaign has been every bit as exhilarating as our previous one under Brendan Rodgers was disappointing. Fans of other clubs, especially Manchester City feel we don’t deserve to have reached the final. Thing is, when you’ve scored the most goals in the entire competition, played some simply breathtaking football in the process, and remained the only unbeaten team in the competition right up until the second leg of the semi final, that’s exactly the reward you should get.
When Jürgen Klopp became Liverpool manager he will have almost certainly known some of the history of our club; how it counts itself as European royalty, and has a relationship with Ol Big Ears like no other English club, with perhaps only Real Madrid sharing the view that it is their destiny to win the cup every time they begin another season in the quest to do just that.
Real have shown some absolutely stunning arrogance since narrowly beating Bayern Munich in the other semi final, including their former manager Vincente Del Bosque stating Real would win 4-1, Paco Gento their Life President saying this final would be a “piece of cake” and the unveiling of t- shirts emblazoned with “A por la 13” which many fans felt was hugely disrespectful. It has since been translated to mean Real are going to do their best to win their 13th title, and not say they’ve already as good as won it.
The relative silence from the Liverpool camp backs up the view from the Boss, that come Saturday evening his boys will be ready. Clearly the focus has been on preparing physically and perhaps as importantly, tactically for what is simply the biggest game in the last 11 years of the club’s’ recent history. If Liverpool play to their strengths there are definite weaknesses defensively in this Real side, and there are several players with known short fuses and disciplinary issues.
Liverpool will kick off as underdogs but that will suit us just fine. The vitriol and fake support of Real by other English clubs can surely only act as a spur too. Imagine being able to parade the European Cup on May 27th around our city while rival fans fume uncontrollably!
The victory will give us our 6th European Cup win and almost as vital, finally shift a rather persistent monkey from Jürgen’s back, that has most definitely outstayed its welcome!
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