Reality of Champions League final dawns on Klopp, Henderson as they react to huge Liverpool stats
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said that it is “absolutely incredible” that some of his players will be playing in their third Champions League final on Saturday.
The Reds are eyeing a seventh European Cup, with history repeating itself in more ways than one. Liverpool face Real Madrid in Paris, as they did in 1981 when they won 1-0.
The two sides clashed again in 2018 in Kyiv, Madrid winning 3-1 on that occasion.
And after coming back to beat Tottenham in the 2019 final, Klopp has admitted Liverpool’s journey is not lost on him. The Reds lost all their first three finals under the German, who has now picked up six major trophies at Anfield.
“We lost big finals,” Klopp told UEFA in an interview ahead of Saturday’s showpiece. “In the first year, Europa League final and the Carabao Cup final. All of these experiences are important in life.
“So then, we came back and we had to learn. We had to learn to be at our top level of focus and concentration in a game like this.
“And that’s what we did and I’m really happy with how the boys have developed over the years. That’s why the group has been pretty together since then. Some players are playing a third Champions League final, which is absolutely incredible.”
Indeed, Mohamed Salah came off against Madrid in 2018 with a shoulder injury before scoring against Tottenham. He has said he is now looking for “revenge” on Los Blancos.
Sadio Mane netted Liverpool‘s goal against Madrid and won the penalty which Salah converted a year later.
Elsewhere, the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson and Jordan Henderson will also make it a hat-trick of European Cup final appearances.
Henderson seeking special Liverpool glory
It could be a special night for Reds captain Henderson on Saturday. Only Emlyn Hughes has led Liverpool to two European Cups as skipper before, doing so in 1977 and 1978.
“Wow, I didn’t know that,” Henderson said when told by The Guardian in his pre-match interview.
“You say Emlyn Hughes is the only Liverpool captain to win it twice. I’m sure he would have said it was the Liverpool team who won it twice, not him.
“That’s the way I look at it. If we do manage to win it twice it’s because of the team, it’s because of the manager, it’s because of the staff and everybody involved.
“When the time comes for me to look back on it, that’s what I’ll think about. I never really see it as ‘me’.”
Strong finish to standout season
Liverpool will hope they can finish a special season on a high by lifting the European Cup again.
Having won the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup, they finished second in the Premier League with 92 points.
Klopp subsequently scooped the Premier League’s Manager of the Season award and the League Managers Association’s gong at a ceremony on Tuesday.
However, another European cup winners’ medal would be extra special and really cap off a fantastic season for Liverpool.