Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp on the UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid and leaving the right legacy – interview | UEFA Champions League


Having joined Liverpool from Borussia Dortmund in 2015, Jürgen Klopp has overseen a thrilling spell in which his side have won the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League as well as their first English title in a generation.

As the Reds prepare to face Real Madrid, the team that beat his charges in the 2018 Champions League decider, the 54-year-old reflects upon his mixed fortunes in major finals and what the most important things in life really are.

On Liverpool’s 2018 final loss to Real Madrid

2018 final highlights: Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool

2018 final highlights: Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool

First and foremost, they are a world-class team, a world-class club, and they know how to win football games. The core [of the teams that met in 2018], especially the midfield, is still there. A lot of things are still how they were before. So, their back line has changed a lot. Up front, Cristiano [Ronaldo] is not there, true, but [Karim] Benzema is still there, with young Brazilians [Vinícius Júnior and Rodrygo] now and all these kinds of things, so it’s a top-class team.

It’s good to have played finals before, definitely. I said it after we won the [2019] final against Tottenham: in all the finals that my teams had played before, we played better football but we lost. So, we have to learn to win finals and we’ve won a few; not Champions League finals, but a few others. We are more experienced and that’s probably good.

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On Liverpool’s supposed ‘revenge’ mission

Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Their previous meetings

Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Their previous meetings

We played them; we lost. What kind of reaction would you like to show for yourself? The fun part of it is, we played against Madrid in Kyiv [in 2018]we won it in Madrid [in 2019]; it was a different stadium [Atlético’s Estadio Metropolitano] and now we play Madrid again. So, obviously, when we are in a Champions League final, Madrid is always somehow involved.

There’s the feeling that we want to put things right, definitely, but it can not be the main thought. If we go there [saying] like, “Revenge! Payback!” all these kinds of things, it does not work like that. That’s not us. We came here to the final in a different way. So, we have to play our way and that’s what we have to try [to do].

Liverpool vs Real Madrid: match preview

On Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti and Jürgen Klopp:

Carlo Ancelotti and Jürgen Klopp: “He’s an incredibly nice fellow”POOL / AFP via Getty Images

Only recently, I saw pictures of the strikers he’s coached in his life, and I thought, “Is there any world-class striker out there that he hasn’t coached?” It’s crazy. On top of that, he’s an incredibly nice fellow. He’s incredibly successful, and he inspires teams to incredible stuff, so, yeah, [he’s] a great guy.

On his Liverpool legacy

I do not know what I want people to think about me. What I want to do for the club is set up a structure and a culture for now and after I leave because the right structure and the right culture should not depend on people; it should depend on the club. If things are right, then it’s right, so keep using it in the future. So, that’s it. That’s my aim, really. OK, I only have the time to do that if we win things on that path.

People never ask me what kind of legacy I want to have at a football club, but I once got asked what I want to have on my gravestone. Honestly, it was like, “He was a nice fella.” That would absolutely be enough because all the rest is… That’s actually my only real concern: that I do not have to knock other people down to be successful. It’s never happened so far, so I won’t start it now.

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