Jurgen Klopp reviews Champions League final defeat against Real Madrid
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Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat by Real Madrid in Paris will sting for some time, considering the nature of the Reds’ performance. The Reds had the majority of the chances, but couldn’t take them – due largely to the outstanding Thibaut Courtois – and then were hit by an efficient, experienced Real side.
A few weeks ago the possibility of a quadruple was still on and excitement was high. So to have ended the season with a double disappointment, with Real joining Manchester City in dampening the mood, is a blow going into the summer. But, while they won’t want to do so now, Liverpool should take comfort from their performance – and the differences to their previous Champions League final heartache against Real Madrid.
In 2018, Liverpool were a long way back in the Klopp rebuild. Six of those that started in Kyiv also started in Paris, while much of the squad remains the same. The Stade de France defeat is a major blow, but the players and their manager need only look at what happened after their defeat four years ago and draw some parallels.
A good place to start is to look at Klopp’s post-match comments following the 3-1 defeat in the 2018 final after Gareth Bale’s double, Loris Karius’ nightmare and Mohamed Salah’s injury at the hands of Sergio Ramos.
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“I’m not fine, I’m the opposite of fine, but I try to be professional,” Klopp said. “I said it a few times, I’m turning 51 next month or so, I lost games in my life before, I won games in my life before – I know how to deal with that. What you cannot avoid is the feeling you have the night after the game. We all feel really, really bad, and the way home will not be the best trip we ever had in our life but we have to accept it now. We wanted everything and got nothing, or minus something with the injury of Mo.”
That is not a manager taking defeat well. The Kyiv final left a very bitter taste in the mouth, given Salah’s injury and the other accompanying factors. But Liverpool bounced back, won the next Champions League final against Tottenham and went on to establish themselves as one of the dominant forces in European football.
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They’ve done it once and they can do so again. Comparing Klopp’s mood in Kyiv to Paris shows how far they’ve come – and how optimistic his outlook is. “These boys played an outstanding season. The two competitions we couldn’t win, we didn’t win for the smallest possible margin – one point, 1-0,” he said this time around.
“What does that say? [Manchester] City during the season were one point better and tonight Madrid were one goal better. That says nothing about us. The difference between 2018 and now is that I see us coming again. In 2018 I wished it but I couldn’t know. But these boys are really competitive, they have an incredible attitude, it’s a fantastic group and we will go again definitely. And tomorrow, we will celebrate the season.”
As Klopp says, Liverpool will go again. This summer may well be one of regeneration, but with Klopp onboard until June 2026 following his recent contract extension, they are in a good place to reestablish their credentials.
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