Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes his current Reds team are the best-assembled squad he’s ever lead into a competitive final and hopes his previous experiences in failing will finally get his team over the line following his six previous managerial final failings.
Klopp has lost both his previous European finals with Liverpool as a manager in 2016 and 2018 as well as suffering defeat in the 2016 Carabao Cup final - losing on penalties to Manchester City.
There was a sense of overachievement last season despite falling short to 13-time European Cup holders Real Madrid and the German coach being thrilled to get so far in the club's first appearance in the competition since 2015 despite failing to land a hammer blow to the Spanish Galacticos.
June 1 will mark Klopp’s third Champions League final in management and last season’s heartbreak in Kiev brought a familiar experience for Klopp during his time as Borussia Dortmund head coach, losing to Bayern Munich 2-1 at Wembley in 2013.
However, there is a genuine belief from Klopp that this Liverpool team is the best equipped to get over the line come Saturday. Despite his Dortmund side back in 2011 and 2012 securing back-to-back Bundesliga titles, Klopp said that his current Liverpool side is a cut above the rest.
“I have never been part of a final with a better team than this,” he said.
“Our boys mix our potential with attitude in the best way I have witnessed.
“That is brilliant, exceptional, and it brought us where we are. These boys did it for the chance of being there, gave us a lot, showed us a lot and in the five or six days between Barcelona (away) and Barcelona (home), I would say nobody believed more than in this team than the team themselves.
“That is why we are here. It is a sensational situation. We didn’t expect it, we wanted it really desperately but it looked like it slipped through our fingers. We did it in the most mature way.”
Liverpool’s recent experience of European finals could serve to their advantage despite falling at the last hurdle on their previous three occasions. They await a Tottenham Hotspur side who are preparing for a first Champions League final in the club’s history.
Klopp then went on to say how he believes the despair and pain suffered in the 2018 final in Kiev has driven his side all the way to another final.
Fourth time lucky?
“Yes it has. It had a big influence on us," he said.
"I remember that situation. When we stood in the queue in the airport in Kiev on the way home, all in tracksuits, heads down, disappointed. It was a lot of different emotions.
“But the plan was, we come again, we will be there again and now we are there, that is just incredible.
“I think pretty much each team that loses a final thinks they will put it right. They don’t all have the chance. We do. It was the kickstart for the development of this team, 100 percent.
“From the first day of pre-season when we were all together, it was a big, big step for the boys. This team is not even to be compared with the team of last year. It is good.
“The year before, we wanted to be in Kiev. This year we wanted to win it. There’s a big difference, just in our mindset.
“We are all very excited about having the chance again. Last year we played it. It is experience. Four years ago some of us played another final.
“It is about using the things that brought you to the final. It is about using your emotions the right way. At the moment it is pure excitement, looking forward to have the chance again. That is what we wanted from last year.”
Liverpool have already beaten Spurs twice this season (both 2-1 victories) and the Reds plans for Madrid were further boosted following the news that Roberto Firmino will be available to face the Lilywhites. However, there was a setback for Klopp after it was confirmed Naby Keita has not recovered from a groin problem and will miss the final.