Liverpool feeling ‘pure excitement’ ahead of Champions League final, says Klopp
Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool were feeling “pure excitement” ahead of the Champions League final against Tottenham but confirmed on Tuesday that Naby Keita will definitely miss out.
The German manager, who guided the Reds to last year’s final, which they lost to Real Madrid, saw his side narrowly lose out to Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title.
But Liverpool can ease the pain of last year’s defeat to Real and finish the season on a high by being crowned European champions for a sixth time in Madrid on Saturday.
“We are all very excited about having the chance again,” Klopp told reporters at Liverpool’s training centre.
“It’s about dealing with the situation and so far we have controlled our emotions,” added the Anfield boss, who also tasted defeat with Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 Champions League final, when his side lost to Bayern Munich in an all-German clash.
“It’s pure excitement and we are looking forward to it.”
Guinean midfielder Keita will not feature in the match as he recovers from a groin injury but there was better news for Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino, who is also grappling with a groin issue.
“There’s no chance for Naby, but he’s progressing well. Bobby was part of training last week and will be a part again tomorrow and he’s looking good so he will be part of the final, I’m sure.”
On recovering from two near misses as a Champions League manager to try and make it third time lucky this weekend, Klopp said: “I don’t like to blame my other team -- I love them all -- but I’ve never been part of a final with a better team, that’s true.
“Our boys mix potential with attitude in the best way I’ve ever seen.
“After Barcelona (the 4-0 semi-final comeback at Anfield), nobody believes more in this team than the team itself. We wanted it really badly.”
Klopp described the match against Mauricio Pochettino’s men as a “proper European final” even though it is an all-Premier League affair.
“It will be very tight, no doubt,” he said. “The quality of us and Spurs is very similar. We know a lot about Tottenham but we have had three weeks since our last game and in three weeks I would have known the name of the groundsman of Barcelona, for example.”
Klopp denied that reaching successive European Cup finals was a personal career highlight.
“The biggest moment of my career was in 2004 in getting Mainz promoted,” said the Stuttgart-born coach.
“Winning the Champions League final with Liverpool would be (the) new (one).”