Bullish Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp tells Real Madrid to watch out

Klopp's passion on the touchline has translated to passion on the pitch and a place in the Champions League final.
Updated 03 May 2018
0

Bullish Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp tells Real Madrid to watch out

  • Liverpool on a high after beating Roma to make it to the final in Kiev.
  • Real Madrid, looking for three titles in a row, start as the slight favorites.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has warned Real Madrid his team will be “on fire” for the Champions League final in Kiev.
The Reds go in as slight underdogs with the Spanish giants looking to become the first side since Bayern Munich in 1976 to win three consecutive Champions Leagues.
Zinedine Zidane’s side have retained a core group of players including Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, who have all been involved in lifting their past three European titles in 2014, 2016 and 2017.
But having seen off the challenge of Roma 7-6 over the two legs of the semifinal, Klopp and Co. head to Ukraine in confident mood and have told Real to watch out.
“You cannot be more experienced in this competition than Real Madrid,” the Liverpool boss said.
“I think 80 percent of their team 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.”
If the Reds do win it would end a six-year trophy drought and be their first piece of silverware under Klopp’s management, having lost the finals of the League Cup and Europa League in 2016.
“We were in a League Cup final and didn’t win it,” Klopp said.
“People don’t tell me in the street since then: ‘Thank you for bringing us to the final.’ We were in the Europa League final too. Nobody tells me thank you.
“I see no trophies after these games. They don’t hang silver medals at (the Liverpool training ground) Melwood. That’s a pity, but that’s the game. There’s still a job to do.”


Van Dijk backs Salah to shine in Kiev showpiece

Updated 6 min 44 sec ago
0

Van Dijk backs Salah to shine in Kiev showpiece

  • Virgil van Dijk: He (Mohamed Salah) is a nightmare for defenders, creating and scoring goals.”
  • Van Dijk: “To be calm, that is sometimes a very good thing to have, but personally sometimes I have to learn, too.”

LIVERPOOL: As Mohamed Salah prepares for a career-defining period, Virgil van Dijk is confident his Liverpool teammate’s star will only shine brighter on football’s biggest stages.
The Liverpool frontman will face-off with Ballon d’Or rival Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid tonight in the Champions League final before heading off to a debut World Cup with Egypt.
And having witnessed an incredible season that has brought 44 goals — a record 32 in the Premier League ­— for the Egyptian star, Reds defender van Dijk says he has the all-round ability to strike fear into the reigning European champions and international sides.
“He is a nightmare for defenders, creating and scoring goals,” said the Dutchman of the 25-year-old Salah. “It’s complete for him.
“He’s like everyone in our squad, laidback, calm, no big personalities and egos. We work hard for each other and just want to be better.
“I think he can definitely be the best in Europe, but there are two other players who are pretty good at the moment as well (in Ronaldo and Lionel Messi). I hope for Mo it happens because he deserves it. He is that kind of player to light up a World Cup as well.”
While all eyes will be on Salah and Ronaldo as potential match-winners in Kiev, van Dijk, 26, will have a major role on the defensive front.
The game will offer the center-back the chance to prove he was worth the £75 million ($100 million) it cost to sign him from Southampton in January.
“Any player who arrived at this club, they want to play in these games, they want to be under this kind of pressure, they want to get trophies,” he said.
“I don’t think I have been bought to win the Champions League final. I have been bought to hopefully get the best out of myself and the best out of the team with the help of everyone else.
“To be calm, that is sometimes a very good thing to have, but personally sometimes I have to learn, too.
“Against Manchester City in the away game (of the quarter final) I was a little bit too calm in the beginning, for example. That is something I have to learn as well. To be in the final right now, it has been a crazy journey.”
Watching last season’s final between Real and Juventus, van Dijk realized just how much he wanted to be a part of the competition — and why Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool were the club for him, despite interest from City.
“I never really go to big games to watch as a fan, but I was in Cardiff,” he recalled. “The sponsors (Sony) hooked us up with two fantastic seats and it was two hours from where I used to live, so we thought, ‘let’s go.’
“From the moment I got there a lot of people in hospitality were Liverpool fans and they were saying, ‘join, please join.’