Jurgen Klopp has lauded his players for reaching another Champions League final, dismissing theories they are out for revenge against Real Madrid, but paying their boss Carlo Ancelotti the most wholesome of praise.
The Reds travel to Paris on Saturday looking to cap an incredible season. With the FA Cup and Carabao Cups in the bag, they can seal a cup treble with victory in the Champions League final. Klopp is looking for his second success in the competition in three years, following their 2-0 win over Tottenham in 2019.
Liverpool go into the game with fitness doubts surrounding midfielder Thiago Alcantara. The Spaniard hobbled off just before half-time against Wolves on Sunday with an Achilles problem.
He appears touch and go to make the final, but Klopp is hopeful he will be fit to start for Liverpool.
“I only met him inside, there’s a good chance. It’s surprisingly good,” he said. “The good news overnight was that it was not that bad. He could be able to train tomorrow [Thursday].”
Asked if his players will be hurt by missing out on winning the Premier League title, he insists his players have already moved on.
“Nobody feels the pain from Sunday anymore. We are really just looking forward to this game against an incredibly strong opponent.”
A special occasion
That opponent, Real Madrid, were victors over Liverpool in the 2018 final. Mohamed Salah has already made clear his feelings on facing them again, underlining his motivation.
Klopp, however, was keeping a bit more diplomatic and insists it will be a special occasion. He’s also dismissing notions that Liverpool will be out for revenge.
“You never know when you’ll reach a Champions League final again so it’s really special. We will face the team who in the last 10 years have won it at least four times. That makes it really special. A lot of the players have been involved in this game (for Real Madrid).”
He added: “No. I don’t believe in revenge. I understand if but I don’t think it is the right thing to do. I understand what Mo said, he wants to put it right – I want to put it right.
“You always meet twice in life. It’s all fine between me and Real Madrid. It’s a football match of the highest level.”
Jurgen Klopp has warm praise for Carlo Ancelotti
Liverpool go into the game with a warning from former boss, and Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez. He believes Real pose a serious threat to their prospects of a seventh European crown. And he believes their coach Carlo Ancelotti is their biggest asset.
“My English isn’t good enough to find a word for it, but what Carlo is for me is obviously one of the most successful managers in the world and is a role model in how he deals with success. He’s one of the best people you can ever meet, really nice guy.
“I have a good relationship with him but obviously that had to be on hold when he was at Everton! The respect for him couldn’t be bigger. He will never stop (winning). But that doesn’t mean anything for this game.”
Jurgen Klopp can become only the second Premier League manager to win the Champions League twice.
However, he insists it is not about him and does not care for plaudits. Furthermore, should they lift the trophy, he is adamant that his players take the glory.
“My reputation? I couldn’t care less. I forget these things almost as soon as they have happened. That will be down to the boys if we win it.”