Liverpool’s manager Jurgen Klopp is confident of upsetting the odds when they play Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 26 in Kiev.
The Reds booked their place in the finals despite losing their unbeaten run(4-2 to Roma) in Rome. However, the two first-half goals scored by Mane and Widjnaldum helped them to secure a 7-6 aggregate win over the Giallorosis making it the highest scoring semi-finals in the history of the competition. Klopp afterward described it as a wild game but focused on the positives (his sides ability to plunder goals).
Liverpool’s celebrations were energetic at the end. The squad spent 10 minutes jubilating in front of the 5,000 away supporters then, 30 minutes after the final whistle, Klopp joined in the celebrations, punching the air and whipping them into a frenzy.
They dedicated the victory to Sean Cox, the 53-year-old Irishman who was left in a coma following an unprovoked attack by Roma fans at Anfield, and his plight forms part of the reason that Klopp is on a crusade to finally claim some silverware.
Liverpool frailties and Klopp’s Hoodoo in finals
Even though Liverpool were the better side against Roma over two legs, there are still doubts about their defense like we witnessed yesterday. The likes of Lovren, Karius and Trent Alexander Arnold who has been outstanding for the most of the season made horrible mistakes that could have cost them the game.
With a 2-1 lead going into the second half, one would have expected Klopp and his lads to slow down the tempo of the game and starve the opposition the possession they enjoyed. It was quite vivid Roma employed the long ball approach that worked in their favour, they pinpointed the weak link in Lovren and wanted to capitalize on it, luckily Van Dijk was there to take care of business.
If the Reds want to land the famous number 6, then they have to employ a more disciplined and tactical approach against Los Blancos in Kiev. That will be of utmost concern for Klopp and his technical team ahead of the showdown in Kiev considering his poor record in finals.
The former Mainz manager also shared his thoughts about the hoodoo after reaching the second Champions League final in his managerial career. He said: We were in League Cup final, we didn’t win it. People don’t tell me in the street since then: “Thank you for bringing us to the final.” We were in Europa League final; nobody tells me that. I see no trophies after these games. They don’t hang silver medals at Melwood.
‘That’s a pity, that’s the game. There’s still a job to do, but that’s how it is. Going to a final is nice, but winning is even sweeter. We will be ready then but is Real Madrid. You cannot be more experienced in this competition than Real Madrid.
‘I think 80 percent of the team of Real Madrid played all these finals. They are four times in the last five years and still together. They are experienced, we are not, but we will be really on fire. We have to play two more Champions League semi-finals in the Premier League. That’s the first job to do.’
Liverpool can always bank on the front trio of Mane, Firmino, and Salah to fire them to glory as they’ve done all season after setting a new record of the best front 3 in the history of Champions League with 29 goals. You can’t bet against them scoring in the finals. Will you?
Real Madrid: End of an Era?
Real Madrid may not have been convincing en route to the final, but you have to give them credits for dispatching big teams like PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich despite their aging squad and defensive lapses.
Madrid has the same defensive problems as Liverpool, which has cost them the Cup competitions and domestic title but they’ve somehow managed to navigate their way to the finals thanks to team experience and the goals of Cristiano Ronaldo who has been phenomenal in the competition.
The fixtures against Spurs, Juve, and Bayern, unmasked Los Blancos weaknesses at the back indicating that an energetic team in their best form can swiftly take them to the cleaners.
The question remains how would Madrid’s aging squad cope with the pace of Liverpool’s pressing and attack? There’s no doubt they have the edge and are clear favourites after winning the title back to back. Can they stop Liverpool’s front trio? Can Liverpool’s defense stop Ronaldo from weaving his magic?
I think we are poised for an entertaining final. The two teams will go for the jugular making it an exciting prospect for the neutrals.
Before the two teams lock horns, they’d have to see off challenges from Chelsea and Barcelona in their respective leagues. Liverpool will seal a Champions League spot with a win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, while Madrid will be aiming to stop Barca’s unbeaten run at the Nou Camp.