This Liverpool team my best in a final: Juergen Klopp, Latest Football News - The New Paper

This Liverpool team my best in a final: Juergen Klopp

German manager hails squad's belief ahead of clash with Tottenham

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp says his team who take on Tottenham Hotspur in Sunday morning's (Singapore time) Champions League final are the best he has managed in such a game.

Klopp has appeared in seven finals with Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool, but has lost the last six after winning his first one in the 2012 German Cup with Dortmund against Bayern Munich.

"I don't like to blame my other teams. I love them all. They all gave everything, but I have never been part of a final with a better team than this," Klopp told a press conference yesterday.

"In different times, for different reasons, my teams were good as well. But I am not so surprised because our boys mix potential with attitude in the best way I have witnessed. That is brilliant."

The Liverpool manager said his side's semi-final comeback against Barcelona, where they overturned a 3-0 first-leg deficit with a stunning 4-0 victory at Anfield, showed what his players are capable of.

"These boys did it for the chance of being there, gave us a lot, showed us a lot and in the five-six days between Barcelona and Barcelona, nobody believed more than the team themselves," he said.

"That is why we are here. It is a sensational situation."

Klopp has lost all three finals he has reached with Liverpool, in Europe and domestically, and he also tasted defeat in two German Cups and a Champions League final with Dortmund.

The German said last year's loss to Real Madrid in Kiev had "hurt" and that memory had spurred the team on in this campaign.

"It had a big influence on us. I remember that situation. When we stood in the queue in the airport in Kiev, all in tracksuits, heads down. There were a lot of different emotions," Klopp said.

"But the plan was, we come again, we will be there again and now we are there, that is just incredible.

"Each team that loses the final thinks they will put it right, but they don't all have the chance. It was the kickstart for the development of this team, 100 per cent. This team is not even to compare with the team of last year."

While Klopp acknowledged that they were fired up for the occasion, he played down talk of them having more big-game experience than Spurs.

"We are all very excited about having a chance again. We are probably the more experienced, but it doesn't really make a difference," the 51-year-old said.

"It's about using the things that brought you to the final. So far, we have controlled our emotions in a really good way."


Asked if reaching the Champions League final for the second straight year was the highlight of his managerial career, Klopp gave a surprise answer.

"If I win it, yes. It would be different to the last finals," he said.

"Is bringing the team to the Champions final again the biggest moment in my career? No, that was 2004, getting promoted (to the Bundesliga) with Mainz. If you had known the money we had, the circumstances we had, nobody needed us in the first league."

Klopp added that Brazil striker Roberto Firmino should be fit to face Tottenham.

Firmino missed Liverpool's memorable semi-final win over Barca and the final game of the English Premier League season against Wolverhampton Wanderers with a muscle strain, but he has responded well to his return to training.

"Bobby was part of training last week, then, we took him out and he will be in training from tomorrow again. From what we saw so far, he looked good. He will be fine, I'm sure," he said.

Guinea midfielder Naby Keita is recovering well from his thigh injury, but Klopp said he had no chance to be involved. - REUTERS